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Permanent ballpark pitched for Field of Dreams site

Travel Dubuque and a new nonprofit are pitching a permanent 3,000-seat, $50-million ballpark as part of Dyersville’s Field of Dreams site, in addition to the $80-million expansion already planned for the iconic Iowa film location.

In April Go the Distance Baseball, LLC unveiled an $80-million plan to expand the Field of Dreams site. The original 190-acre farm will be the base of the development, augmented by addition of almost 100 more acres to the west. The first phase of the project, which will installed largely on the new land, will include nine new diamonds, a youth player dorm and a new hotel. It’s currently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023. The existing movie site will remain intact, while the base of the temporary ballpark built for the 2021 Field of Dreams Yankees/White Sox event, will be expanded into a permanent facility.

The plan for a new ballpark fits as part of the new development and would be built at the site of MLB’s Field of Dreams game, set to return this August. Seating 3,000 but expanding to 8,000 seats for big events (like future MLB Field of Dreams games), the ballpark would cost more than $50 million and be used for college and international tourneys, high school games and events like baseball camps, music concerts, festivals and group/corporate meetings. We would also expect some talk fairly soon about summer-collegiate ball at the site; the location fits in the Northwoods League and Prospect League footprints.

The ballpark would be run by a new This is Iowa Ballpark Inc. nonprofit, separate from the Go the Distance owners, which would lease the ballpark site to the new group. Besides $5 million in seed money from Dubuque County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) revenue, funding could come from Destination Iowa, a new state initiative using $100 million in ARPA money to promote tourism. We are not likely to see the entire $50 million price tag picked up by the state: we have already heard talk of other potential sports facilities being discussed using Destination Iowa funding, and there are already plans to solicit private funding for the project. Other potential funding sources are Travel Dubuque and the city of Dyersville.

If funding is finalized within a reasonable time frame, we could see an opening in three or four years, with construction beginning as soon as August 2024.

Renderings courtesy RDG Planning & Design.

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