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Our Opinion: Support All-Star Ballpark Heaven

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Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10:00 am

Did anyone notice during the Oscars this year that Dyersville was on display three times within 45 minutes of the show via clips from the film, “Field of Dreams”? That’s three more times than most Iowa cities, most American cities, will be referenced on a national-level ever.

This kind of inadvertent promotion of our area came without a price tag. Dyersville is relevant 23 years after the film was made and now, as All-Star Ballpark Heaven produces headline after headline, it’s time to capitalize on what Hollywood has given us: notoriety, fame and the liberties and unequivocal opportunities of which no other city in the state the size of Dyersville can boast.

The area stands to still benefit from the movie’s influence. “Field of Dreams” is routinely atop critics’ and fans’ top baseball movies, its one-liners memorable, its inherent nostalgia allowing Denise and Mike Stillman to potentially bring opportunity to a town that has proven it can handle big business and whatever comes its way.

Area residents stand to gain from a continued influx of visitors that will assuredly bring profit to area gas stations, restaurants, grocery and retail stores and our motels.

Money spent in any business will turn a profit six times over in its community area, according to Dyersville Economic Development director Jacque Rahe.

The Oscars recognized Dyersville’s contribution and value. It’s time we notice it ourselves.

Many of us travel throughout the state and the Midwest. Evident is the deterioration of many places that once were vibrant, healthy communities, many of which are small towns.

The money-flow out of these communities probably started with a move by a company or another means of job outsourcing; the snowball effect of the loss of jobs started to cause other businesses to close, houses to go undersold or unsold and schools and churches to crumble in structure and mentality.

This does not even include the fact that the young people of these areas left for schools and jobs and could not even consider coming home to live and work.

It is a sad situation when you go to one of these once active places to find you can hardly locate a tavern in which to have a sandwich, where the houses are starting to dissolve beneath the weight of the pass and the stresses of the future.

Our little neck of the woods in eastern Iowa has been able to sustain these tough economic times – so far. Even though we have lost good jobs, we seem to be creating jobs bit-by-bit to replace them.

We have growth in manufacturing here – Dyersville Die Cast is booming, Modernfold and Lumber Specialties continue to produce top products, and other companies have readjusted to market demands.

All-Star Ballpark Heaven will only bolster our local economy and, directly or indirectly create or preserve jobs. There are always drawbacks to change; the feasibility study recently released showed some of them. Some farmland will be turned commercial, absolutely, but there is ample land across the state that can shoulder what is lost if All-Star Ballpark Heaven can become a reality.

It is a wonderful thing when someone comes to your community and says they want to purchase and expand a known attraction, one that has brought a lot of people to the doorstep of our area, one that has opened many minds about the stereotypes of Iowa, one that celebrates ingenuity and relationships and the love of baseball.

To top it off, the folks who are working hard to make this development happen include people who are educated, business/legal/marketing savvy, and, from what we can glean, are honest, nice and fair.

There is nothing in the Stillmans’ backgrounds, resumes or references, that indicate anything but that – go ahead and Google Mike or Denise Stillman, if you wonder.

They have kids they love and families that support them, as we witnessed at a community event in November. Don and Becky Lansing, along with their family, made a good decision to open the doors in negotiations with the Stillmans.

In addition, the hard work being done by Jacque Rahe, Karla Thompson and their staffs deserves commendation.

All-Star Ballpark Heaven means jobs and revenue. It also means change: we either grow and develop, or we fall behind. That is the nature of community, of business, of life.

— This is the consensus opinion of the Editorial Board.

© 2018 Dyersville Commercial. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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