Concerns over annexation around Field of Dreams site
Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
The Dyersville city council members open the special meeting Monday evening
DYERSVILLE (KWWL) -
The Dyersville city council held a special meeting Monday evening to discuss annexation related to the Field of Dreams.
Chicago couple Mike and Denise Stillman approached the Field of Dreams owners in the fall about purchasing the land and turning it into a softball-baseball tournament facility called "All-Star Ballpark Heaven." The proposal includes 24 ball diamonds, housing units and other buildings.
Monday's special meeting was simply called to set a date for the public hearing and council vote on accepting voluntary annexation applications. There are people on five properties neighboring and including the Field of Dreams and that want to annex their currently-in-the-county property to the city of Dyersville.
Proponents of the tournament facility say the land that would hold the complex would need to be zoned commercial, and annexing it to the city needs to happen in order for that to happen.
However, other neighbors of the Field of Dreams have been voicing concerns for months now about the potential negative impact the facility could have. Those folks cite an increase in traffic on small country roads due to all the ballplayers and their families. Some neighbor worry about an increase in noise and light pollution plus flooding from the facility's runoff.
Some neighbors, including Sharon Ameskamp, who lives across the street from the Field of Dreams property, say they feel they have no voice in the decision to build this complex so near their property. Ameskamp and others are among those who say they'd like to see the entire project go to a vote.
"I think this is something the citizens of Dyersville have got to be able to vote. It's not that we're voting on a little city park or a curb and gutter or something," Ameskamp said at her home Monday afternoon.
Jacque Rahe is the executive director of the Dyersville Economic Development Corporation as well as one of the neighbor applying to annex her property to the city.
"It's a huge opportunity," she said of the tournament facility. "We have storefronts downtown that are empty, and, you know, in small communities, if you're not moving forward, you're probably going backwards."
Some estimate the tournament complex could bring in more than 1,000 jobs - mostly seasonal - plus millions of dollars in regional economic impact.
The city council set the public hearing and vote on the voluntary annexation applications for July 2 at 6:05 p.m.
Mayor Jim Heavens said that at the regular city council meeting on Monday, June 18, the council will start putting dollar figures on some of the development required to get to the final product - and who will likely pay for that.
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