Backers of a plan to build a large sports park in the town of Pella landed a one-million dollar state grant today. The Vision Iowa Board approved the Community Attraction and Tourism grant toward the construction of the $7.5 million project.

Bill DeMeulenaere is a member of the committee in Pella that started pushing for the sports park in 2005. “It’s something that the whole community has rallied around and we’re really excited about moving it forward with the Vision Iowa grant,” DeMeulenaere said.

The project in Pella calls for the construction of four Little League fields, one Babe Ruth field, and five multipurpose fields, plus a main concession stand, batting cages, a playground area, picnic areas, lighting and parking. DeMeulenaere believes the sports park would attract big tournaments and bring large crowds to Pella.

“We also want it for our community, our Little Little programs, softball programs, soccer clubs through our city rec department and other organizations we have in town,” DeMeulenaere said. The 105-acre facility could be ready for use in the fall of 2014 or spring 2015.

DeMeulenaere said the current sports facilities in Pella lack adequate lighting and drainage systems. “When you live in Iowa, you’re going to have wet springs and summers. That doesn’t mean you can’t play on your facilities…you can if you have them built the right way and these will be built the right way,” DeMeulenaere said.

The Pella Sports Park was the only project awarded funding today by the Vision Iowa Board.