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9/10/2020 General
Marion Named 2020 All-Star Community Award Recipient

For the third time in four years, the City of Marion has been named an All-Star Community by the Iowa League of Cities. The 2020 award was given for the Prospect Meadows Sports Complex. The city was recognized in a virtual ceremony on Sept. 9, which will be part of the League’s Annual Conference & Exhibit planned for Sept. 16-18.

The All-Star Community Award is the most prestigious honor given by the League to cities. Entries are judged by a panel of former city officials and others familiar with municipal government. Judges determine winners based on innovative efforts in areas such as urban renewal, development, preservation, collaborative efforts or quality of life improvements. Marion was among three of Iowa’s 945 cities to garner such recognition.

Prospect Meadows is the product of a decade-long effort to build a first-class baseball/softball complex in Linn County. The project is founded in a deep love for the sport and the vision of a local businessman and retired minor league baseball general manager to establish facilities that would provide opportunities for local youth and bring traveling teams to eastern Iowa.

“This is definitely a bright light during a trying year,” said Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly. “This award recognizes our community’s constant drive to reach higher and provide residents with opportunities to experience an unequaled quality of life.”

The first phase of the project opened on May 23, 2019. It features eight artificial turf, baseball and softball fields, and hosts national and regional tournaments, local leagues and instructional camps. The complex also includes modern concessions, restrooms, lighting and gardens along with a Miracle Field designed specifically for individuals with special needs.

The facility fills a void in the community, offering a space for local young people and those across the country to develop their athletic abilities and social skills.

“So many people and organizations helped bring this project to life,” said Jack Roeder, president/CEO for Prospect Meadows. “Very few community projects demonstrate the potential to serve our youth, improve our quality of life and positively impact the local economy.”

When fully built out, the facility is projected to welcome more than 60,000 out of area visitors and generate $20 million in direct spending at area attractions, retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues annually.

This year’s other All-Star Community Award winners are Harlan and Sibley.