While the Chicago Cubs have essentially resigned themselves to staying in Mesa, Arizona for Spring Training, the city has yet to approve a final plan for upgrading the facilities the Cubs’ use. You’ll recall that their initial plan was to be financed by a surtax placed on all Cactus League tickets, which plan was staunchly opposed by the other teams in the Cactus League and by Major League Baseball.
But the new plan is taking shape, and could be a go.
On Nov. 2, Mesa voters will be asked to approve Proposition 420, which will allow the city to spend up to $84 million for a new Spring Training stadium, practice fields and training facilities for the team. City officials have said they will not spend more than $15 million for related infrastructure. The Cubs will cover any costs above the $84 million.
Besides the stadium and practice site, the Cubs want to create an entertainment and retail complex near the baseball facilities.
If the measure passes, the Cubs hope to be in their new facility in 2013.
The Cubs feel they’ve outgrown the current Mesa sites at HoHoKam Park and Fitch Park, and that they are outdated. A study has shown that the team brings in $138 million annually to the Phoenix area.
How will the city pay for the facility? It will begin by tapping into an enterprise fund, which has $60 million. Mesa officials say they will sell large land holdings in Pinal County to replenish the fund. Other sources for money include a hotel bed tax, and taxes from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. cubs.com.
The complex is to be located in the Riverview area of Mesa, where there was to be built a no-doubt-classy water park, but it, too, has faced financing problems. If financing comes through (the deadline for the water park is July 11, 2011), the city will scramble to relocate the Cubs’ facilities.