Permanent Field of Dreams stadium proposed for Iowa

Plans have been drawn up to create a permanent Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa next to the site of the eponymous movie.

Last August, Major League Baseball staged a Field of Dreams game at a temporary ballpark in Dyersville as the Chicago White Sox faced off against the New York Yankees.

The ballpark was located at the tourist destination made famous by the movie of the same name, which was released in 1989 and tells the story of Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, a husband and father who is tending to his cornfield when he hears a mysterious voice intone, “If you build it, he will come.”

Since the film was released, the Lansing Family Farm, which was used in the movie, has been a popular tourist attraction. In 2011, the field was purchased by Denise Stillman and a group of investors with the goal of preserving the Field of Dreams and creating a special place for baseball fans, tournament players and families.

Stillman began working with MLB in 2015 but passed away in 2018. The inaugural Field of Dreams game had been due to take place in 2020 but fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic before debuting in August 2021.

Following the success of the event, MLB and Universal Pictures announced that the game would return in 2022, with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs to face off in Dyersville.

The Des Moines Register newspaper now reports that a non-profit organisation has been launched with the aim of raising $50m (£40.5m/€47.4m) to build a permanent stadium around the Dyersville site.

The plans are being led by Travel Dubuque and have been backed by the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors, which will allocate $5m of its American Rescue Plan Act funding towards the project.

The stadium would have a capacity of 3,000 and the proposal comes after site owner Go the Distance recently announced plans to expand the area by building youth baseball and softball facilities, team dormitories and a hotel.

The non-profit, This Is Iowa Ballpark Inc, will oversee the fundraising effort. It is hoped that the permanent stadium would host events throughout the year.

Keith Rahe, president and chief executive of Travel Dubuque, told the Register: “That’s a key element for us, that different things within the stadium would make it a year-round destination. We really feel like the interest in it is unreal. With Major League Baseball playing a game at the field, people want to go there and just see it. And we feel the stadium itself will become a destination.”

Following the inaugural event, This is Heaven, a group headed by baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, acquired a controlling interest in Go the Distance’s ownership of All-Star Ballpark Heaven and the Field of Dreams Movie Site.

Image: MLB Photos