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Plans Unveiled to Preserve and Enhance the Iconic Field of Dreams

Youth Sports Complex
Youth Sports Complex
Boutique Hotel
Boutique Hotel
DYERSVILLE, IA — Six months after purchasing a controlling interest in Iowa’s iconic Field of Dreams Movie Site, the new owners of Go the Distance Baseball, LLC, unveiled their vision to preserve the cornfield setting while building a youth baseball and softball destination for players, families, fans, and tourists from around the world. The master plan provides $80 million in private investment to expand the site and builds nine new ballfields, dormitories for teams, and a hotel, among other phased improvements.

As the largest private investment ever in Dyersville and one of the largest in Dubuque County, the project will greatly enhance the facilities and amenities for visitors and area residents, while creating jobs and boosting economic development and tourism in Eastern Iowa.

Go the Distance Baseball is forging ahead with plans to create a youth baseball and softball destination, while maintaining the property as a working farm, amid the rural Iowa landscape. The development builds on the momentum of last summer’s MLB at Field of Dreams presented by GEICO and a 200 percent increase in the number of boys’ and girls’ baseball and softball teams registered for tournaments in Dyersville this summer. Company executives and area economic development leaders discussed the plans at a press conference at the Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville.

“I am grateful for all that the game of baseball gave me throughout my career, and now I am proud and excited to lead a team that is building opportunities for players, fans, and families to enjoy our national pastime and for teams to train and compete,” said Frank Thomas, CEO of Go the Distance Baseball and a first-ballot member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Upon adding nearly 100 acres to the original 190-acre footprint of the former Lansing-family farm and movie site, the master plan includes nine new baseball and softball fields for girls and boys, team dormitories, and a boutique hotel, all slated to be completed in phases by the end of 2023.

Additional phases through 2025 include a 100,000-square-foot fieldhouse, an outdoor concert amphitheater, an RV park, a large park inclusive for children and adults with disabilities, and jogging trails through the cornfields.

“Like baseball, successful real estate development requires preparation and hard work and then recognizing opportunity when it comes. The opportunity is here now to ensure the experience of the Field of Dreams endures for generations,” said Rick Heidner. He was an initial investor in the movie site with the late Denise Stillman, whose family sold controlling interest in Go the Distance Baseball after her dream of an MLB game at the site was realized last summer. Plans for a permanent stadium that would host college and high school tournaments and championships for men and women are also being considered.

The phased development will support hundreds of construction jobs and, when fully completed, the private development alone will create approximately 170 new full-time equivalent jobs, and events hosted at the site will result in more than $25 million in direct annual spending. Area residents may also benefit from member access to the indoor fieldhouse and training facility for year-round recreation.

In addition, the entity that manages Go the Distance Baseball — This is Heaven, LLC, is establishing a charitable organization, Field of Big Dreams, to inspire hope and provide opportunities for children with cancer and military veterans and their families, with the mission of providing resources and support to turn dreams into reality.

During the past six months, the Thomas/Heidner-led group has been working with public officials, community leaders, and nonprofit economic development agencies to build a private/public partnership as the foundation of the development plan’s success. Officials of the Dyersville Economic Development Corp. and Travel Dubuque joined Thomas and his team in announcing Go the Distance Baseball’s plans.

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The collaboration is already making demonstrable progress with the extension of municipal water and sewer service to the site and surrounding neighbors. In just the last month, the Dyersville City Council has awarded contracts for the first two phases of infrastructure work to provide water service by August.

Go the Distance Baseball is consulting with RDG Planning & Design, Origin Design, Conlon Construction Co., and Leopardo Companies to provide architectural, engineering, construction, and planning services for the development of the master plan. Maintaining the property as a working farm and protecting farming on neighboring properties is an essential element of their planning. Heidner’s son, Collin, is working with the planning team on the project.

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