Dyersville city council OKs Field of Dreams agreement
Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DYERSVILLE (KWWL) -
The Field of Dreams movie site expansion project is one major step closer to becoming reality after getting approval from the city.
At the Dyersville city council meeting Tuesday night, council members were scheduled to vote on whether to approve a development agreement with Denise and Michael Stillman, owners of Go the Distance Baseball, LLC. That's the development company looking to expand the current Field of Dreams movie site into a 24-field youth softball/baseball tournament complex.
The project is expected to cost $38 million, with 86 employees in the summer, 28 of which are expected to be full-time, year-round positions.
One Dyersville woman, Pat Meiner, expressed her concern over the city's use of tax increment financing (TIF) in this agreement.
"I really feel ashamed of how this whole situation was run," she said in the public hearing section of the meeting. "I'm concerned about the taxes."
The development agreement states the city plans on returning to the company 80 percent of the property taxes the company pays ever year, for 15 years, up to a lump sum of $5.13 million dollars.
In the final council vote, council member Molly Evers voted against approving the agreement. Three voted in favor and one was absent.
Evers said she acted on the concerns of citizens.
"'They would come to me and share their concerns with this. They didn't like the TIFing," she said, among other concerns including altering Dyersville's small town atmosphere with summer traffic the complex will attract.
With the approval of council secured, the developers said they'll now move ahead with closing on the property.
"The fact that we are in the majority of being approved by the city as well as well as by the citizens, according to a summer poll by the newspaper, we feel very welcomed and very much that the city is in favor of us," Denise Stillman said.
The Stillmans hope to open the complex by the 2014 season, in time for the Field of Dreams film's 25th anniversary.
The Stillmans said the Field of Dreams movie site will continue to be open to the public during its normal season of April through November. They said they plan on having separate entrances for the site and for the tournament complex.
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