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New ballpark on Dubuque’s radar

New Dubuque ballpark

A long-term development plan for Dubuque’s Chaplain Schmitt Island includes a new ballpark on city-owned land, but city officials say there are no firm plans for a new facility or team at this time.

Dubuque (Iowa) has been mentioned frequently in the last decade as a potential home for a Class A Midwest League team or a summer-collegiate Northwoods League team, and potential owners of teams — including Iowa Cubs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) owner Michael Gartner — have worked on a ballpark project, as have other potential owners with MLB ties. A Dubuque team would also fit squarely in the Northwoods League footprint.

The city commissioned a study of the future of Chaplain Schmitt Island from the Cunningham Group, who included a spot for a 6,000-seat ballpark after input from city and business leaders. Now, that’s to say a ballpark is imminent — it’s not — but the fact that the ballpark was placed on city land and available for immediate development is certainly a telling sign, and city officials say they’d love to work on a ballpark plan with the right partner:

Andrew Dresdner, of Cunningham Group, said the ballpark was included in the plan after being mentioned by a handful of stakeholders in the consulting firm’s interviewing process.

“I think for these people, what is attractive about the (minor league stadium) is bringing more visitors to the island, and potentially bringing more people to the casino … I think there is a river setting here which could be very appealing to fans, and great views of the bluff that could be appealing,” Dresdner said….

Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen, however, noted that a new stadium is nothing more than a concept at this point.

“There would have to be a team before there is a stadium,” he said. “It is just theoretical until there is a team.”

The city has been mentioned to us by potential ownership groups in the past few months, so there’s definite interest.


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