MARION — Prospect Meadows soon could add a new form of competition to the baseball complex: paintball.
The sports facility at the corner of County Home Road and Highway 13, which held its first baseball season last year, is in negotiations with a partner to add seven paintball fields.
Prospect Meadows general manager Jack Roeder said the paintball project is in its early stages and wouldn’t say yet who the partner is.
“We’re excited about what the future holds for the complex,” Roeder said. “The long-term goal has always been to make this a sports complex in addition to baseball and softball. With the amount of land we’re leasing from Linn County, that’s feasible and possible to do.”
Prospect Meadows is asking Linn County to approve the paintball fields in the northwest corner of the county-leased property.
The proposal will be presented later this month to the Board of Adjustment and the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Roeder said the paintball course could open by this summer or fall.
“We’re limited only by our imagination,” he said.
Eight baseball fields and a Miracle Field for disabled children opened last year as the first phase of what’s envisioned as a larger Prospect Meadows project.
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The general manager projects 100,000 people will pass through Prospect Meadows’ gates this year — double the 2019 season.
A big reason is that the complex will be opening in March, adding three months to the season, which runs through October.
He also expects to see double the travel teams and hotel room stays.
“We had 300 local games last year, and we already have 1,000 scheduled for 2020,” Roeder said. “The biggest difference is March, April and May — those three months that we didn’t capture last year.”
Being ready earlier this year also will allow for the Miracle League to have a spring and fall season. Last year, 40 children broken on four teams participated in the Miracle League’s fall season. Roeder hopes for six Miracle League teams this spring and fall.
“It’s amazing the amount of volunteers who came out to help with that,” Roeder said. “The overall feel of it is terrific, and it really makes your day when you participate in a Miracle League game for differently abled kids.”
The Miracle League is run by the Marion Metro Kiwanis Club.
League of Dreams, a league for underserved youth, also will double its season. The league provides bats, balls and other equipment to participants. League of Dreams is run by the Tuesday Noon Optimist Club.
Prospect Meadows could always use more volunteers, Roeder said.
“We’ll take as many as we can get,” he said.
The ball fields hosted over 300 games, 450 traveling teams from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and volunteers gave 2,500 hours of their time in the ball field’s first season.
Perfect Game USA, a Cedar Rapids baseball scouting company and the primary tenant of the ball fields, is committed to bringing in 1,000 teams a year to Prospect Meadows for 14 years.
The sports complex has room for 16 fields.
The first phase of the project cost $14 million.
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Marion, Linn County, Cedar Rapids and the state committed $6 million to the project. Private donors include the Hall-Perrine Foundation, Hall & Hall Engineers, MUSCO Lighting and others.
Community leaders expect the success of Prospect Meadows to signal more growth in the area. A second new Marion hotel, Holiday Inn Express, is planned for Squaw Creek Crossing on the northeast corner of highways 13 and 151. It is expected to open in spring 2021.
A Pizza Ranch FunZone Arcade also is opening close to the baseball fields this spring, and last year, Dupaco Community Credit Union opened its first branch in Marion.
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