'Field of Dreams' lives on: Sports facility for kids to be built at movie site
An investment group led by Oak Lawn, Iowa-based couple Denise and Mark Stillman closed the deal last week after more than two and a half years.
Denise Stillman on Wednesday recalled the moment she told her husband they should buy the property.
"[It was] over pizza by a swimming pool the night that he told me it was for sale. I said we should build a Cooperstown facility like that at the 'Field of Dreams' movie site," she recalled.
In the future, the site will be a sprawling complex built specifically for youth sports, including 24 baseball diamonds and 60 clubhouses.
"We're going to do things like build a summer camp where kids from the inner city came come to Iowa and learn about how to be a great human being through sports," she added.
Costner's 'favorite place on Earth'
There are some eerie coincidences between the film and the site's real-life purchase.
"We've actually talked about the similarity between the movie and real life except the tables are turned in the genders. The wife is that one that's proverbially the crazy one," Stillman said with a laugh.
"['Field of Dreams'] came out on tape and we watched it in the dorm and he cried, so I thought he was pretty OK," she said.
Stillman also has the support of actor Kevin Costner. She said the star lauded her effort and thanked her for keeping the dream alive.
"He just chuckled and said, 'I'm so glad that someone is saving that. It's my favorite place on Earth,'" Stillman said.
The first phase of the $40 million project should be complete in the spring of 2014. Stillman said youth baseball teams from as far away as California and Florida are already signed up to compete in tournaments.