Results tagged ‘ Mesa ’
Now it’s down to three. The Cubs apparently have narrowed the list of potential Spring Training sites in Mesa, Ariz., to three locations, including Riverview Park and its golf course, a downtown area known as Site 17, and another in the northeast part of town.
Mesa officials need to finalize a plan before the November election and early balloting, which will begin in either late September or early October. Voter approval is required for the city to spend more than $1.5 million on a sports complex. Mesa was expected to spend as much as $84 million on new facilities for the Cubs. A second ballot would raise the hotel bed tax from 3 percent to 5 percent, which could raise another $30 million. City officials say Mesa would cover any remaining costs by borrowing against surplus land the city owns in Pinal County.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith confirmed the three locations to the Arizona Republic.
If the Cubs picked the Riverview site, that would mean the end of a proposed water-themed resort there. That project has stalled because of a lack of financing. Riverview would give the Cubs a 15-minute access to four other Cactus League ballparks via access to Loop 202 and Loop 101.
The downtown location, known as Site 17, is a barren tract cleared a decade ago for a resort that was never built. The Cubs actually began training in Mesa in 1952 at downtown Rendezvous Park.
“The big challenge … is that it would involve multiple parcels of land and multiple parcels of land and multiple negotiations,” Smith told the Arizona Republic. “I’m not sure we have the time to make it happen, but we’re working on it.”
The third candidate is a site near the Longbow Golf Course south of Loop 202.
Smith said the key factor is where the Cubs believe their “Wrigleyville West” plan for tourism development will be most successful.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs’ Spring Training facility will apparently stay in Mesa, Ariz. Team officials have notified the Naples, Fla., group trying to lure the Cubs to the Sunshine State that they will continue exclusive negotiations with Mesa beyond Monday’s deadline. The Cubs and Mesa had established a July 12 deadline in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to have financing in place for the new facility.
On Sunday, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told Chicago reporters in Los Angeles that he anticipated the team would continue working with Mesa. Chairman Crane Kenney echoed that sentiment Tuesday in a statement.
“The Cubs are appreciative of the efforts from the Naples team to provide the club with a first-rate Spring Training facility,” Kenney said. “Naples is a world-class city and could undoubtedly provide our organization and fans an exceptional facility and experience.
“Despite the opportunity that exists in Naples, for the time being we will continue our work in Mesa to build a new Spring Training facility there,” Kenney said.
Mesa recently announced a financing plan for an $84 million complex with the money coming from the city, not the state. Initial funds to pay for a new stadium would come from the city’s enterprise fund, according to Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. Those funds would be replenished over a 15- to 20-year period from sales of Mesa’s surplus land holdings in Pinal County.
The Cubs have a board meeting scheduled for Thursday in Chicago.
Mesa voters will be asked in November to approve two measures that could affect the new Spring Training project. One is to raise the city’s bed tax from 3 percent to 5 percent. Mesa voters also must agree if the city is to spend more than $1.5 million on an entertainment or sports venue.
Naples made a strong push for the team, led by Craig Bouchard, an executive with Chicago-based Esmark, Inc.
“In our discussions with the Cubs we asked for them to provide our group with an exclusive negotiating period,” Bouchard said in a statement released Tuesday night. “The Cubs politely declined and will continue to negotiate with Mesa for the time being. We understand the importance of loyalty and wish them well. We also respect 57 years of support from Mesa. Therefore, we have respectfully withdrawn our offer.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Arizona state legislature adjourned Thursday without passing legislation the Cubs need to keep their Spring Training site in Mesa, Ariz. However, that doesn’t mean the Cubs are headed to Florida.
The Cubs and Mesa officials signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in late January that provides exclusive negotiation between the team and the city. One of the conditions of the MOU was that the legislature determine some kind of funding by July 12. Although lawmakers ended their session Thursday without a decision, they still could call a special session.
The Cubs are the top-drawing Spring Training team and have been wooed by officials from Naples, Fla., to relocate their facility there.
The Cubs declined to comment Friday.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs averaged 10,892 fans in 14 games at HoHoKam Park this spring, drawing a total 152,493. That’s the top average home attendance in the Major Leagues this spring. This is the seventh straight year the Cubs have led the Cactus League in per game attendance.
The Cubs’ home attendance is listed as 164,046 in official MLB stats because that includes the March 13 game in Las Vegas. The Cubs were the home team that day.
They also were part of the Cactus League single-game record of 13,629, set March 28 in Peoria against the Seattle Mariners.
* The average attendance for a Cactus League game this spring was approximately 6,800 per game. The Cubs are a little more than 4,000 fans ahead of the Cactus League per game average.
* The Cubs helped establish since-surpassed single-game marks on consecutive days in Glendale – 13,391 on March 18 vs. the Dodgers; 13,413 on March 19 vs. the White Sox.
* The Cubs set an all-time HoHoKam Park attendance record on March 27 when they drew 13,462 fans for a game against the Padres.
* Last year, the Cubs set an all-time Cactus League record with 203,105 fans in 19 games at HoHoKam Park, an average of 10,690 per game.
* The Cubs have played in 15 of the top 20 top drawing Spring Training games of all time.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs kickoff Cactus League play on Thursday, playing host to the Athletics at HoHoKam Park. This is the 32nd consecutive season in Mesa. Do the Cubs need a new spring facility? Lou Piniella said if they could build one complex, the team wouldn’t have to make the move from Fitch Park to HoHoKam, which it did Tuesday. There also is limited workspace at HoHoKam. The back field is not full size and there are three batting cages. HoHoKam seats 13,100; the Cubs would like a bigger stadium.
“I remember the 10 years with Seattle [in Peoria, Ariz.], we had wonderful fields,” Piniella said. “We had four Major League fields, two other Minor League fields. We had six fields we could do all our work in. Here, it’s limited.”
Piniella did say the Cubs’ current spring facilities are not the reason they haven’t won a World Championship. If the team can’t get a new set-up, they could still move to Florida.
“It would be hard for me to imagine baseball here without the Cubs being a mainstay,” Piniella said.
– Carrie Muskat
The annual Cactus League breakfast was created for the Major League teams based in Arizona to kickoff the season on a positive note. On Tuesday, four teams boycotted the event in protest of the proposed surcharge on Cactus League tickets to help pay for the Cubs’ new stadium. The Dodgers, White Sox, Reds and Angels did not send a representative to the breakfast, held in Mesa.
General managers from the big league teams are invited to the breakfast, and this year, only two attended, and one was Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Other teams took a different route. The Brewers, for example, sent a member of their radio broadcast team.
Cactus League teams have made it clear to the Cubs that they want the team to stay in Arizona. But the surcharge, proposed by Arizona legislators, is another matter. The Cubs have narrowed the list of possible sites in Mesa to three, all off the Loop 202 freeway, and east of the current location. The Cubs begin the 32nd consecutive season on Thursday, playing host to Oakland at HoHoKam Park.
– Carrie Muskat
The Ricketts family and team president Crane Kenney toured the four possible Spring Training sites in Mesa on Tuesday. Kenney said he’s encouraged a deal will get done.
On Friday, Arizona legislators plan to meet with the Cactus League teams to discuss the proposed surcharge on Spring Training tickets which will help pay for the Cubs’ new stadium. Kenney has encouraged the teams to come up with alternatives.
“The state and the city will figure out how to finance this,” Kenney told WGN Radio’s David Kaplan. ”We’re supportive of any measure that helps us get a facility, a world class one, and we’ve been led to believe by everyone from [Senator] John McCain, who I had lunch with last week, on down that this will get done and we’re going to have a few bumps in the road like lots of legislation but we’re pretty confident.”
– Carrie Muskat
Mesa city manager Chris Brady said Monday he’s hoping Cactus League teams opposed to a ticket surcharge on their spring games will meet with legislators to understand the plan. The White Sox and Diamondbacks were among the teams who voiced opposition to the ticket surcharge, which will be used to help pay for the Cubs’ new spring facility in Mesa.
“This is just the beginning of the process,” Brady told MLB.com on Monday. “The Cubs are too important to all those teams [in the Cactus League] that are complaining. If the Cubs go to Florida, I can assure you their [remaining Arizona teams] revenue will be dramatically less than it is today. They’ll be hit significantly if the Cubs aren’t in the Cactus League. We are concerned about the other teams. If the state of Arizona loses the Cubs, it’s a $130 million impact to the state. I don’t know if legislators want to give up that revenue stream in these difficult times.”
The opposition emerged as a bill to address funding was introduced at the Arizona Legislature Monday. The bill would likely create a surcharge of less than $1 on all 15 Cactus League tickets and a rental car tax. The new revenue would fund $59 million of the $84 million complex. The details of the bill are still being worked out.
The Cubs will be paying for the land for the stadium as well as paying the operating and maintainance costs for the stadium. The city of Mesa has been paying for the operating costs at HoHoKam Stadium and Fitch Park.
“There aren’t a lot of teams out there who pick up the cost 100 percent like the Cubs are proposing to do,” Brady said. “The Cubs have committed to doing additional development around the stadium. I don’t know of any other team in the Cactus League that does that.”
The proposed ticket surcharge hasn’t been well received. Last Friday, the other 14 Cactus League teams had a conference call to voice opposition of the plan.
“If it’s a choice between this surcharge and the Cubs leaving for Florida, I would gladly put on my work gloves and help them pack up the truck,” one Cactus League team official said.
What the city of Mesa will remind the other teams is that the Cubs drew 251,275 fans to their road Spring Training games in 2009, an average of 13,225 per game. The next-biggest draw was the Red Sox, who drew 208,550 fans total fans and an average of 10,976 to road contests.
– Carrie Muskat
Cactus League teams want the Cubs to stay in Arizona. They just don’t want to pay for the Cubs’ new facility.
According to a story in the Phoenix Business Journal, the White Sox and Diamondbacks oppose a plan to have the entire Cactus League bankroll the $84 million stadium being built in Mesa for the Cubs. Arizona lawmakers are considering a plan to impose new ticket charges on all Cactus League games and raise rental car taxes in the Valley to help pay for the new complex.
Ticket surcharges have been used by specific cities to fund baseball stadiums within their jurisdictions, according to Cactus League president Robert Brinton. However, the latest proposal would mark the first time a league-wide fee would be imposed for one project.
White Sox president Jerry Reinsdorf told the Journal that other teams and their fans did not finance development of his team’s stadium in Glendale. D-backs President Derrick Hall also is opposed to the idea of league-wide ticket surcharges to benefit the Cubs.
“We want the Cubs to stay here badly, but not at the expense of our fans,” Hall told the Journal. “I’ve heard the argument that the other teams should be willing to because of the visiting crowds that the Cubs bring to their games. They do draw well, as do we, yet we were creative in our search for a new site to identify a partner willing to finance the entire project without public dollars.”
The D-Backs and Rockies will move into a new facility in 2011 that the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is building east of Scottsdale. The tribe is taking a $23 million loan backed by federal stimulus money to help fund the $100 million project. The tribe, which operates two casinos, is paying for the remainder of the new complex.
Arizona House Majority Leader John McComish is formulating a financing bill for the Cubs. He has said he’s looking at options to pay for the new stadium, including ticket surcharges and increased taxes on hotels and car rentals. It has not been determined how much the surcharge would be. The Phoenix area already has high car rental taxes, with current rates totaling 18.53 percent.
Legislators may face criticism if they fast-track taxes for the Cubs as they cut education and social welfare programs in the face of a multibillion-dollar deficit.
Mesa City Manager Chris Brady said in addition to ticket surcharges and higher car rental taxes, Mesa voters will be asked to approve bond money as well as infrastructure and services spending for the new complex. Brady said tentative plans call for two-thirds of the $84 million to come from regional sources and one-third from the city. That translates into a split of $56 million to $28 million.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs will get a sendoff for the 2010 season from some hopeful Chicago-area students. On Tuesday, the truck carrying equipment more than 1,800 miles from Wrigley Field to the Cubs’ facility in Mesa, Ariz., will depart. Besides luggage, workout equipment and a few sets of golf clubs, the load will include letters written by children at the Inter-American Magnet School in Chicago. The letters are addressed to the Cubs players.
GM Jim Hendry, who is attending the Super Bowl in Miami this weekend to cheer on the Indianapolis Colts, will be on hand for the festivities, presented by Mastercard.
This will be the Cubs’ 32nd consecutive Spring Training in Mesa, and 13th at the current HoHoKam Park and Fitch Park facilities. The team had been considering a move to Naples, Fla., but recently gave the city of Mesa exclusive negotiating rights to complete a proposal for a new facility.
Pitchers and catchers will have their first workout Feb. 18, and the first spring game is March 4 against Oakland.
– Carrie Muskat