Federal grant to support infrastructure improvements in Dyersville

DYERSVILLE, Iowa — The City of Dyersville has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant that will support infrastructure improvements and eventually could lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs, according to federal officials.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Thursday that Dyersville will receive a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant, which will help the city “create and expand water and wastewater infrastructure to support tourism and business growth.”

Specifically, the funds would assist efforts to extend this infrastructure to the Field of Dreams and to the proposed site of a youth baseball and softball tournament complex, as well as a portion of the city that could be home to future industrial projects.

Federal officials estimated the grant could help create 350 jobs and generate $90 million in private investment, figures that take into account the potential impact of future economic development projects in that portion of the community.

City Administrator Mick Michel said the grant creates new possibilities.

“When you don’t have the proper infrastructure, it does not allow for business growth in that area,” Michel said. “This is a catalyst that opens the area for other economic development opportunities.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the federal grant must be matched with $1 million in local funds.

Michel said the city has not determined from where the local match will come, adding that officials are exploring multiple options.

While a precise timeline for the project hasn’t been established, Michel is optimistic that the expanded infrastructure will be in place relatively soon.

“If all the stars line up, we are looking at sometime in the late fall of 2022 or the spring of 2023 (for project completion),” he said.

Area officials long have identified the need to expand infrastructure to this part of Dyersville.

Jacque Rahe, executive director of Dyersville Economic Development Corp., said preliminary engineering work related to the infrastructure expansion dates back to 2014.

“We have been studying this for quite a while,” she said. “We’ve been hoping for some time to get water and sewer out to the Field of Dreams site, and we have also wanted to open up the potential for development (along Dyersville East Road).”

Rahe noted that the current lack of water and sewer infrastructure services at the Field of Dreams has created logistical challenges leading up to the Aug. 12 Major League Baseball game. She believes that extending the city’s infrastructure could better position the venue to forge a multi-year agreement to host an annual MLB game.

The grant also could be a shot in the arm for All-Star Ballpark Heaven, a proposed baseball and softball tournament complex near the movie site. Rahe said water and sewer infrastructure is “definitely a necessary component” for that project to move forward.