Foundation partnerships aid downtown revitalization
The Dyersville community is preparing for something big.
On Thursday, August 13, 2020, the city will host a Major League Baseball game at the Field of Dreams. The Chicago White Sox will face the New York Yankees in the first ever professional sports game played in Iowa.
The quickly approaching landmark event is inspiring improvements and innovation all over town. Community members are uniting to roll out the red carpet for the approximately 8,000 guests who will fill seats in the new ballpark later this year.
One critical piece of the puzzle is connecting the Field of Dreams site with the center of Dyersville. “A vision we always had of expanding the trails is coming true by connecting Heritage Trail to the whole downtown,” said Karla Thompson, executive director of the Dyersville Chamber of Commerce.
The Dyersville Area Community Foundation and its fund holders are doing their part to help this vision unfold. A grant from the Community Foundation will provide partial funding for bike racks to accommodate cyclists throughout the city. The Dyersville Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with a private family fund to contribute 2019 endowment fund payouts for the remainder of the project budget.
“This one little piece really enhances the full project,” said Thompson. “We have a green square that will be the hub of all the downtown action. Former MLB players will be there doing Q-and-A sessions with fans, and the trail will go right past. Placing bike racks there will be important.”
More improvements in downtown Dyersville include the refurbishment of a former sewing factory, which is now Textile Brewing Company. Dyersville Economic Development Corp and the City of Dyersville partnered in 2018 to provide a $100,000 catalyst grant to launch the brewery and preserve the 1906 historic building. The brewery is located in the area known as Steeple's Landing, which is the future location of a 15,000-square-foot building set to include both commercial and residential space. Spireon, whose employees expressed a desire to work near Dyersville’s downtown, will rent office space in the new building. Old warehouses have been torn down, the streets have been swept and the riverbed has been cleaned.
Trails will encircle the revitalized downtown, drawing people to the new developments, parks and businesses. A 2018 disbursement from a private family fund provided bicycles for community use. Those bikes are stored at Comfort Inn, located at 527 16th Ave SE
in Dyersville, and will be available for visitors during the baseball game and all season long. “We’re sprucing up our town for MLB guests, but these projects will benefit all our residents for years to come,” said Thompson.
“The Dyersville Area Community Foundation is excited to help support efforts to energize our downtown and welcome visitors to our community,” said Michelle Grover, foundation coordinator. “Our mission is to inspire giving and strengthen communities, and these projects accomplish both of those goals.”