With Field of Dreams lawsuits dismissed, both sides feeling optimistic
DYERSVILLE (KWWL) -
Both sides in a dispute over the Field of Dreams movie site development say they're feeling tempered optimism heading into 2014. This comes after litigation that lasted between the two for more than a year got dismissed this month.
In October 2011, a development group called Go the Distance Baseball, LLC bought the Field of Dreams movie site and surrounding land and announced plans to build a 24-field youth baseball and softball tournament facility called All-Star Ballpark Heaven.
Many of the movie site's neighbors, however, opposed the land's development. They formed the Residential and Agricultural Advisory Committee.
Matt Mescher is acting as the RAAC's spokesperson. When he moved in 2006 from living in town in Dyersville to a nearby rural area, he expected the land would continue looking as rural as it did when he moved in.
His yard overlooks the Field of Dreams movie site.
"We're not opposed to that project," Mescher emphasized, referring to All-Star Ballpark Heaven. "We are opposed to commercial zoning. It just happens their project is the first one down the road."
In 2012, Go the Distance Baseball sued the RAAC for interfering with the project, and, in 2013, the RAAC launched a counter suit.
Just this month, however, in a mutually-agreed-upon arrangement, all litigation between the two groups was dismissed.
In a phone interview with KWWL, Go the Distance Baseball's president and CEO Denise Stillman said the developers "are happy to have a clean slate to move forward with in 2014."
She said she believes the project will be able to attract more investors, without lawsuits standing in the way.
However, no construction has yet begun on the project, despite plans that contained earlier goals.
"We've heard a lot in the past from them about what they're going to do and when they're going to do it, and a lot of that has never happened," Mescher said. "I'm sure a lot of that was intended to happen on those guidelines or those dates, but...I think it all comes down to, 'Do they have the dollars?' and whether they're going to proceed."
All-Star Ballpark Heaven has the backing of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs and television star Matthew Perry, among other investors.
The RAAC still has a lawsuit against the city of Dyersville. The group claims the city improperly zoned the Field of Dreams movie site commercial. A victory for the group could jeopardize the development.