Fairgrounds project in Iowa in jeopardy of being canceled

the associated press

WAVERLY — A northeastern Iowa community may lose the opportunity to build new fairgrounds and baseball diamonds if it doesn’t raise $1 million by the end of the year.

Terry Hinrichs is the consultant for the Champions Ridge project in Waverly. He told The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that work would begin next spring if the project reaches its goal, otherwise “the dream’s gone.”

Discussions for Champions Ridge began in 2007, when the city sought a new home for the Waverly-Shell Rock baseball and softball diamonds, as well as a new home for the Bremer County Fairgrounds.

Landowner Neil Smith offered Waverly 142 acres (57 hectares) of his land in 2011 at a fraction of its value if the city agreed to use it for youth programs, Hinrichs said.

“I’ve been involved with fundraising for 27 years, and I’ve never worked on a project that will benefit so many youth as Champions Ridge,” Hinrichs said.

The fairgrounds would more than double in size to 40 acres (16 hectares). Plans also call for 12 baseball and softball diamonds to be added, replacing fields spread throughout the city.

Hinrichs said future plans would include creating a 100-site campground.

Champions Ridge would also have many water-quality features in its design, such as selective plantings and several retention ponds to filter pollutants out of the water before and after it hits the ground.

The Neil Smith Conservation Water Quality Initiative would educate the public on all of those elements at Champions Ridge, Hinrichs said.