11/5 Mesa update

Now that the Cubs received Mesa voters support to build a new Spring Training facility there, they have a lot of work to do. The goal is to open in time for Spring Training 2013.

“It’s possible,” Mesa mayor Scott Smith told Arizona reporters. “Is it absolutely necessary? No. I think what the Cubs and the city have agreed to is that we’re going to shoot for that but we’re not going to be tied to a specific deadline to be there because we want to be sure that we don’t trade quality for timing.”

Construction would need to begin this summer to complete the project by February 2013. That gives the team and the city six to eight months to finalize the plans but the Cubs still need to finalize plans and hire a contractor.

“We would like to be in the stadium by Opening Day of spring 2013 but it’s most important that we do it right,” said Mike Lufrano, the Cubs’ general counsel.

Voters in Mesa Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Proposition 420, which authorized the city to commit $84 million for the facility and another $15 million on the infrastructure. The complex will be built at the 125-acre Riverview Park, replacing a golf course and park. The area is in west Mesa. Included in the plans is a 15,000-seat stadium, practice fields and year-round training headquarters. A Wrigleyville West commercial district, which would include hotels, restaurants and retail complexes, will be funded by the team’s owners, the Ricketts family.

Developers of a proposed water park, which also wanted to locate on the Riverview site, have told the city of Mesa they are focusing on 20 acres instead of the entire area. The water park developers have not relinquished their rights to the site yet; they have until July 2011.

– Carrie Muskat

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