Travel Scene: Dream a bigger 'Dreams'
Iowa's fabled Field of Dreams is on its way to become All-Star Baseball Heaven.
The farm near Dyersville, Iowa, where the 1989 baseball movie "Field of Dreams" was filmed 25 years ago, has been a tourist attraction since. It recently was sold for $3.4 million to a group that includes Hall of Famer Wade Boggs.
The group, named Go the Distance and headed by Illinois investors Denise and Michael Stillman, plans on spending some $38 million on the 193-acre farm to develop it into a 24-field youth baseball and softball tournament complex.
Construction is scheduled to begin this spring with the first tournament games scheduled for 2014, the Des Moines Register reported. The sellers, Don and Becky Lansing, originally listed their farm for sale two years ago for $5.4 million, according to news accounts.
The landmark Iowa property had been attracting some 65,000 visitors a year. Go the Distance plans on preserving the farmhouse and the rest of the site where the movie was shot. The group, which encountered opposition to the sale from various local elements, estimates that its project will create some 1,400 jobs and will eventually bring $40 million to the area.
Some area residents opposed the project on the basis that the Dyersville infrastructure wasn't capable of handling additional tourist traffic. They filed a petition against a zoning change that was needed to allow commercial use of the property, but a judge later denied the request.
According to news accounts, Boggs — a former Red Sox and Yankees star — said that dozens of teams from around the country have already signed up to play on the property next year, when it will host various tournaments and learning events. The site is geared toward travel teams and will include clubhouse space for up to 60 teams as well as an indoor training center. There also will be accommodations for families to stay on the site.
"Travel baseball is the vogue thing to do," Boggs is quoted as saying in media reports. "The days of just playing in your local Little League are over."
Public financial assistance will help the development. It includes some $16.5 million in a state sales tax rebate and $15 million in a bond allocation.
China opens longest high-speed rail line
China has opened a 1,428-mile high-speed rail line — the world's longest — that runs from Beijing, the nation's capital, south to Guangzhou, a regional economic hub.
Total travel time on the route now is about eight hours, as compared to more than 20 hours formerly. High-speed trains are running at about 186 miles per hour.
China's high-speed system now covers some 5,800 miles — about half of the government's target of 11,500 miles by 2015.
Vail's big 5-0
The ski resort of Vail, Colo., is turning 50 this season with several events celebrating the the anniversary. A special screening of the film, "Vail, the Rise of America's Iconic Ski Resort," kicked off the celebration.
Vail Mountain launched its ski season by opening a new gondola in Vail Village, which represents a 40 percent increase in uphill capacity.