Capitalizing on the feel-good nostalgia of the "Field of Dreams" film, and the success of Major League Baseball games played on a temporary field built near the film’s site, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is using $12.5 million from the state’s Covid-19 relief funds to help build a permanent Field of Dreams Ballpark in the city of Dyersville, according to the Des Moines Register.
That comes after she already committed another $11 million from Covid-19 funds to build water and sewer lines to the Field of Dreams stadium site.
Along with city and county funds, and $1.5 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the federal funds go toward the $50 million project.
Those funds come from Reynolds’s grant program “Destination Iowa,” created with $100 million of the $4.5 billion slice of the pie Iowa received from the American Rescue Plan Act, the March 2021 congressional coronavirus relief bill.
The spending is needed “to bolster the quality of life in Iowa’s communities and attract visitors and new residents to the state,” Reynolds said in a press release. “The hospitality industry in the State of Iowa experienced a 46.1 percent decrease in employment and there was an overall 29 percent decline in visitor spending as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Field of Dreams Ballpark, not expected to be ready for play until 2024, is one of a number of projects within Destination Iowa that proports to help Iowa recover.
While a feasibility study expects the ballpark to have 136,000 patrons annually, employ 81 people in new jobs and host 62 events, bringing in $9.1 million in investments the first year, some economic development experts are skeptical about how much economic benefit the ballpark will bring, The Register reported.
Neither the corporate events, banquets, concerts and festivals, nor the baseball games needed to sustain the ballpark, are guaranteed, experts said, noting it would compete with cities Dubuque and Cedar Rapids for events.
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