Developers who hope to build a large complex of baseball diamonds in eastern Iowa are lobbying legislators for a tax break.
“It would be outside of Marion,” says “Prospect Meadows” president Jack Roeder. “The property is Linn County. It’s not in either the city limits of Cedar Rapids or Marion.”
Roeder’s vision: build 16 baseball diamonds, plus a “Miracle League” diamond for children with physical and intellectual disabilities.
“We have located in our city limits ‘Perfect Game USA‘ which is the world’s largest scounting service, so they run a lot of events around the United States,” Roeder says, “but they really have done very little in cedar Rapids and the main reason for that is Iowa plays summer high school baseball.”
That means the scouting service cannot schedule tournaments on Iowa fields over the summer months to showcase top talent for major league ball clubs. The complex would sit on 128 acres that is currently owned by Linn County.
“We would like to be able to turn some dirt yet in 2016, using 2017 to basically complete the project or at least the vast majority of it,” Roeder says, “and be able to play by 2018.”
The total project cost is estimated at $14 million. Linn County is basically giving the land to Prospect Meadows. The rent will be $1 per year. The cities of Marion and Cedar Rapids are promising hundreds of thousands of dollars and developers have applied for a state “Vision Iowa” grant. In addition, Prospect Meadows developers are asking legislators to extend the same state tax break granted to the proposed “Field of Dreams” baseball complex in Dyersville. A senate subcommittee approved that move on Monday afternoon — the first step in the long process of passing legislation.
The tax break would allow Prospect Meadows to keep the six percent state sales tax charged on tickets and merchandise purchased at the baseball complex.
Legislators voted to extend that tax break to the proposed “Field of Dreams” complex near Dyersville in 2012, but landowners nearby have been fighting the project in court.