Governor Branstad says he is “favorably inclined” to approve a bill that would provide a $16.5-million sales tax rebate to developers of a huge sports complex in eastern Iowa. It would be built around the “Field of Dreams,” the baseball diamond made famous by the 1989 movie.
“I’m a great supporter of the Field of Dreams, so I want to examine the bill before I make a final decision, but as you know, I was governor when they filmed, ‘Field of Dreams and I love to say, ‘Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa,” Branstad says, a reference to a famous line in the movie.
Developers hope to build two dozen baseball and softball diamonds that would be used for sports camps as well as tournaments. An indoor practice facility and housing for the teams is also part of the plan. “This is just one way, I guess, to try to build on the notoriety and the interest that people have in coming to see this facility,” Branstad says.
A couple from Oak Park, Illinois is leading the investment group which plans a sprawling, 193-acre complex in the fields surrounding the iconic white farmhouse, out-buildings and the baseball diamond created when the movie’s main character plowed under his corn after hearing a voice telling him: “If you build it, he will come.”
“I have met with the people who have proposed it, so I know some things about it. I want to learn more before I make a final decision, but I’m obviously favorably inclined to whatever we can do to promote Field of Dreams,” Branstad says. “It’s a great movie.”
Some of the neighbors of the proposed sports complex worry the development will create traffic problems and other headaches. The state incentive would stretch over a 10-year period and allow project developers to keep the five percent state sales tax charged on merchandise and services sold at the complex.