The City of Dyersville’s bid to use state tax revenue to help pay for proposed renovations at the Field of Dreams movie site recently came up short.
The city’s application, submitted in February, was one of 10 submitted for the Iowa Reinvestment Act program. Six redevelopment projects — from Des Moines, Urbandale/Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Ames, Newton and Fort Dodge — were selected for the next round and will present their proposals to the Iowa Economic Development Authority board next week.
Proposed renovations at the Field of Dreams included the addition of an indoor training facility and 12 fields for youth teams, among other infrastructure improvements.
Tom Mietzel, CEO of Go the Distance Baseball, said they still plan to move forward with the project.
“We’re disappointed that we weren’t selected, but you can’t let that keep you from moving forward,” he said. “You can’t wait on a government program in order to try to move ahead.”
Mietzel mentioned several recent additions to the movie site, which will be in the national spotlight in August when it hosts a Major League Baseball game. He said Go the Distance Baseball is looking at “alternative funding mechanisms” for some of the larger proposed renovations.
Annual revenue projections for the project showed that over 20 years, the site could generate a total of $5 million in sales tax rebates available for reinvestment at the Field of Dreams.
Dyersville City Administrator Mick Michel explained that if the city had been selected for the program, the city could have reinvested that money at the site to pay for infrastructure costs, economic development activities or tourism development.
The rejection has a slightly bitter sting because the Field of Dreams helped spur the creation of that tax incentive program.
Go the Distance Baseball lobbied to get the program passed in 2012 to help pay for the construction of All-Star Ballpark Heaven, a proposed, 24-field youth baseball and softball tournament complex near the movie site. However, a zoning dispute with neighbors and subsequent lawsuits caused construction delays, and the state money was allocated elsewhere.
“Other entities were able to take advantage of that, and that’s great. The money was used and put to good use,” said Jacque Rahe, executive director of Dyersville Economic Development Corp. “We were hoping to come back and be able to access this assistance. However, we understand, and we took some good feedback from the application process, and we’ll try again and look for other avenues for funding.”