It seems like ages ago that the Chicago Cubs were actually considering leaving Arizona for Spring Training. With apologies to the Collier County folks, it’s kind of nice to know that the traditional Mesa Spring Training will remain.
But not everything will remain. As a part of the agreement that kept the Cubs Springing in Mesa, the city agreed to help the team put together enough money to construct new training facilities and a new park, which will combine with a kind of destination area to surround the park known as Wrigleville West to create a theoretically awesome place for fans to experience the Cubs in the Spring. And plans for the ballpark and training facilities continue apace.
Mesa took a major step toward building the new $84 million complex by naming Populous of Kansas City, Mo., formerly known as HOK Sport, as the designer and Hunt Construction as the builder….
The new complex, approved by Mesa voters last year, is scheduled to open in 2014.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said the focus is on building a destination that would give fans a unique experience, combining Cactus League baseball with other attractions at Wrigleyville West, a privately-financed commercial development located nearby.
Wrigleyville West’s attractions are expected to include restaurants, stores and a Cactus League museum that would include a Cubs’ component. The Cubs will develop Wrigleyville West.
Mesa also will upgrade Riverview Park, which includes a lake, soccer fields and softball fields at the intersection of the Loop 101 and 202 freeways. The nine-hole golf course will close and be used for the new spring training complex. azcentral.
If only the Cubs could get that kind of financial support from Chicago and Illinois, eh?
I imagine that Wrigleyville West is going to take on relatively large cheese factor when compared with its North Side brother, but I also suspect that it will be a generally cool experience; one of those that, if you let your guard down and accept that you’re being a total tourist cheeseball, you can have a great time. I look forward to my first visit post-2014.