Prospect Meadows: Good project, wrong location

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Charlie Kress, guest columnist

We residents of City of Marion are fortunate to live in a friendly and vibrant growing city. Marion has more than doubled in population since 1970. It is relatively crime free, has a great park system, is revitalizing its historic uptown business district, is planning a community YMCA activity center, is building roundabouts to improve traffic flow and safety for drivers and pedestrians in a cost effective way and has won many awards for progressiveness. It has maintained the friendliness of a small community even as it has become a relatively large community. Despite my pride in Marion, I have concerns about the location of the planned Prospect Meadows ball field complex.

I would wholeheartedly support a baseball/softball complex on the Marion outskirts if it were at least a half mile from the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency (CRLCSWA) landfill. The planned Prospect Meadows complex planned to be directly across Highway 13 from the CRLCSWA landfill will have airborne toxic fumes and litter from the landfill creating potential health problems to those in the ball field complex.

The Waste Agency operates one of the finest waste handling facilities in the country. Its attention to environmental aspects of the landfill is outstanding. The Agency is reducing landfilling though recycling and energy generation from landfill gases. My ten year experience as a Waste Agency board member made me extremely impressed with the environmental efforts of the Agency.

However, toxic fumes and litter blowing from the landfill are unavoidable. Waste Agency employees are issued masks to minimize inhaling fumes. These fumes and litter represent a health hazard to those in the ball field complex. In an article titled “How Dangerous is it Really to Live Near a Landfill?” states: “A recent study found that living near a landfill could expose residents to chemicals that can reduce immune system function and lead to an increased risk of infections.” The recommendation is that having a home should be a least 2 miles from a landfill. Living full time near a landfill may be worse than use of ball fields. However, a risk still exists for regular ballplayers and fans.

I am surprised that this issue has had little publicized discussion. The only publicity seems to be the economic benefit to Marion and Perfect Games USA. I would support this economic justification if the complex were located a reasonable distance (at least a half-mile) from the landfill.

• Charlie Kress and his wife Pat have lived in Marion since 1962. He received his BS in electrical engineering from the University of Nebraska in 1959 and his MSEE from Ohio State in 1961.

Comments: chaskress@mchsi.com

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