‘They will come’ scenario just a dream
Early in our courtship, Laura took me to the movie "Field of Dreams." She had seen the film the night before and loved it. She thought I would, too.
In what should have been a tip off that her perceptions were unaccountably clouded by newly found affection, I found the movie a heaping helping of corn syrup.
But, as I look back, I'm struck by the fantastical aspects of the film. I'm not talking about long-dead baseball greats returning from the dead to perform before appreciative fans. I've enjoyed movies that required greater suspension of reality.
My objection stems from the movie's closing shot -- the overhead look at a long line of cars making their way to the cornfield ballpark.
From the perspective of years in this business, I can only ask how that field made it through the public planning process. I'm quite sure the proposal would have been shot down after every resident within a five-mile radius would have opposed the ballpark.
At the risk of offending some, I imagine that hearing would have gone something like this.
Vernon Middleton, chairman of the Macoupin County Planning Commission: We now open the public hearing on They Will Come L.L.C.'s request to rezone 90 acres of property generally located northwest of Hawkeye and Corn Bin roads from rural/agricultural to recreational/commercial. The board will only make a decision on the rezoning, we are aware of a companion application for a conditional-use permit.
I would ask all speakers to confine their comments to the rezoning.
Harvey Kekeiffer, 5167 Cotton Tree Road: They're talking about getting 20,000 people there for 40 games during the summer. There ain't no sewer out here. What are they going to do -- a septic system?
It's going to stink worse than Jack Strahm's hog farm. Who's going to be stuck with the cleanup?
Tiffany Hollingsworth, 18423 Hawkeye Road: My husband and I moved to this county a year ago to get away from the noise and stress of the city. We made a $500,000 investment on our new home.
We now enjoy many quiet nights looking at the stars. These people are going to ruin the tranquility with 20,000 roaring fans on 40 otherwise quiet summer nights.
As for looking at the stars, forget it. The lights from the ballpark will be so bright we'll be lucky to see a full moon.
Jason Farris, president of the Gnarly Oaks Chamber of Commerce: Every year we here in Gnarly Oaks lose more of our sons and daughters to Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. There is nothing to keep them here. We need this baseball field and more things like it to bring jobs.
Twenty-thousand people a night -- that's a lot of revenue from gasoline sales tax, cafes, sodas.
Erving Longhoover, 5189 N. Corn Bin Road: I live just north of this proposed ballpark. I'd just like to ask you people up there if you've ever been on that road in the summer? You meet a car, the dust's so thick you're lucky you don't drive in the ditch. You put 5,000 cars on it, and you won't see a thing.
Wilbur Janke, 5221 N. Corn Bin Road: I realize a feasibility study is part of their conditional-use request and not required for the rezoning. But I've heard it said this project will bring jobs.
Unless I'm not reading this right, they're talking about teams of ghosts paying each other. GHOSTS?
I think we have to ask what's really going on? Do they think we're a bunch of hicks?
Lincoln Douglas, attorney for the applicant: We understand all the concerns. You all know my client. He's an honest and humble man. Do you really believe he is trying to pull something over on you?
We ask you to have a little faith. That's what this project is really all about. Trust us.