9/30 Mesa releases details

Mesa officials have released a “term sheet” to detail the city’s agreement with the Cubs for its proposed Spring Training facility in hopes of drumming up support for the project. The city of Mesa wants to get details out before early voting begins next week for the Nov. 2 election. Proposition 420 on Mesa’s ballot will ask voters’ permission to pay for the Cubs’ facilities. The city’s charter requires that voters approve any expenditure of $1.5 million.

According to the sheet, the city of Mesa will pay $84 million for the new stadium and facilities. City manager Chris Brady said the costs to upgrade the infrastructure will be no more than $15 million. That includes $1.8 million to improve the streets bordering the preferred site of Riverview Park with the remaining $13 million for improvements to access roads, parking and utilities.

The plan is to have Mesa lease the land to the Cubs and their developers rather than sell it in order to maintain control over the quality of the projects. The Cubs would agree to a 30-year deal with the city.

Two groups — Valley Business Owners Inc. and the Mesa Taxpayers Alliance — oppose the plan, according to the Arizona Republic. The two groups say the city is handing the team a blank check for the costs of infrastructure associated with the stadium.

Brady said Mesa would issue bonds to pay for construction, with the debt being repaid by Mesa’s enterprise fund, which is generated by utility and other business operations. That same fund was used in 2008 for early repayment of $9.7 million in debt on Hohokam Stadium, the Cubs’ current home. The enterprise fund, in turn, will be replenished over time by proceeds from selling city-owned land in Pinal County.

– Carrie Muskat

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