Field of Dreams plan sparks controversy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Field of Dreams plan sparks controversy

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The initial design for the All Star Ballpark Heaven national tournament complex The initial design for the All Star Ballpark Heaven national tournament complex
DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Plans for the $38 million expansion at the Field of Dreams near Dyersville is sparking controversy.

In October, longtime owners Don and Becky Lansing accepted an offer from a Chicago-based couple, Mike and Denise Stillman, and their investment group, Go the Distance Baseball LLC.

Some neighbors, however, have concerns about the proposed All Star Ballpark Heaven national tournament complex.

Jack and Mary Ann Rubley are two of those neighbors. They live across the street from the proposed expansion.

"40 acre length away from the site is all we are," Jack Rubley said Thursday afternoon, standing in his driveway and overlooking the fields where developers hope to build the complex.

The Rubleys said they and other neighbors are concerned drainage from the proposed parking lots and 24 fields could cause flooding.

"That is a tremendous amount of water that's going to be drained off, and that's going to go into the stream and down to Dyersville," Mary Ann Rubley said.

Jacque Rahe is the Dyersville Economic Development Corporation's executive director, who has been working closely with the Stillmans in bringing the All Star Ballpark Heaven complex to the Dyersville area.

"Those issues will all be addressed, and there is much yet to do in terms of engineering," she said Thursday in her office, adding the solution to flood mitigation could be "a retention cell or something that might actually improve the downstream effects."

The Rubleys said they are also concerned about the increase in traffic and noise.

"We love the peace and quiet, out in the country," Jack Rubley said.

"You are away from the town, where the traffic and the congestion-- You've got the wide open spaces," Mary Ann Rubley added. "The whole project is a concern to us. It really is. Like we said, you know, the traffic and the loss of agriculture land and the flooding and just a little of everything, you can say. And it's going to lose that peacefulness and quietness."

"There's always a bit of anxiety that goes with any type of change in a community," Rahe said.

However, before tackling any logistical issues, she said, the Stillmans want Iowa legislators to approve a state sales tax rebate bill for the project.

"From souvenirs, from tournament fees, that portion of the tax would be rebated to the developers to use in their operational funds, so up to $16 million or 10 years, whichever comes first," she said.

Local sales tax, she added, would not be affected by this rebate.

"Once everybody sees that the state is on board and that kind of makes it a little easier for them to go out and get signatures on the bottom line for investors, the next step is kind of figuring out the infrastructure logistics," Rahe said.

The Stillmans have been and continue to be in contact with concerned neighbors, Rahe said.

The Rubleys, however, have felt left out of the conversation.

Mary Ann Rubley said, "Whatever will be, will be, you can say,"

Until 'what will be' comes to be, however, neighbors such as the Rubleys continue to express their concerns.

Rahe said developers hope to open the tournament complex by the summer of 2014, in time for the 25th anniversary of the film's release.

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