The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

November 7, 2013

Dyersville vote prompts speculation about field complex project

DYERSVILLE — The election of a new mayor and three new City Council members in Dyersville is prompting speculation about what the vote means to plans for a 24-field youth baseball and softball complex near the “Field of Dreams” movie site.

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported that Jim Heavens, who lost his bid to be re-elected mayor of the eastern Iowa city in Tuesday’s vote, said his defeat showed the public doesn’t support the project. The proposal has been controversial, with supporters noting economic benefits and opponents arguing it would eat up prized agricultural land and hurt Dyersville’s small-town atmosphere.

Nearby property owners have filed lawsuits against the city, arguing that officials illegally rezoned and approved building permits for the project. On Wednesday, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled the lawsuits could move forward.

The 40 percent turnout was much higher than other nearby municipal elections.

“It’s kind of a referendum on the Field of Dreams project. People don’t seem to want to do that,” Heavens said Tuesday night. “I think as far as the city of Dyersville goes, I think (the project) is dead. The people have spoken. They don’t want it.”

Heavens said he fears the project won’t proceed and resulting jobs would be lost.

“I think (the Field of Dreams developers) will be stopped dead in their tracks,” he said.

The proposed project, which includes an indoor training facility and lodging, would be adjacent to the “Field of Dreams” baseball diamond, the site for the 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner as an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in a cornfield.

Heavens lost his re-election bid to Alvin Haas, an environmental services consultant who had run for mayor twice before.

The new City Council members are Mark Wagner, Teresa Bockenstedt and Ray Sauser.

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