Heading into Thursday’s MLB at Field of Dreams game between the Cubs and Reds, the eponymous baseball facility is looking ahead to its very bright future.
This week, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced the state would contribute $12.5 million for the city of Dyersville to create a permanent multi-use stadium.
The hope is that the proposed “This is Iowa Ballpark” project will host professional games, collegiate tournaments, and other year-round events for years to come.
The permanent park is just one part of larger plans for the area.
In April, Go the Distance LLC — an ownership group led by Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas — announced an $80 million youth sports complex at the site that will include nine baseball fields, team dorms, a hotel, and an amphitheater. It’s expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Thomas’ group is separate from This is Iowa Inc., the nonprofit that will be in charge of the permanent stadium.
The cornfields in the area — where the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” was famously filmed — has seen a revitalization in recent years after MLB staged its first game on the site between the Yankees and White Sox last season.
While the new construction means that MLB will not be able to play a game at the site in 2023 — as Thomas announced Wednesday — the league seems poised to return to Iowa in future years.
A feasibility study conducted during planning estimated that the area could generate $9.1 million in investment in the first year after the stadium was built — but two-thirds of that is contingent on an annual MLB game being played there.