Cubs' Spring Training to Stay in Arizona After Voters Approve Stadium Funding
Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Prop. 420, which authorizes city funding of up to $99 million to build a new spring training facility for the Cubs. Previous attempts to secure funding from the state of Arizona had failed, leading to discussions that could have seen the Cubs' spring base moved to Naples, Fla.
Given the option, though, voters chose to spend the money to keep the Cactus League's most popular draw in town. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, just over 63 percent of the more than 80,000 votes cast on the measure were in favor of funding a new facility.
"We are very gratified that the citizens of Mesa have voiced their belief in their community and entrusted us with the responsibility of moving forward," Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said in a statement. "These votes will benefit Mesa for many years to come and are integral in our efforts to Build a Better Mesa."
Under the terms of Prop. 420, the city of Mesa will provide no more than $84 million toward design and construction of a new facility and an additional $15 million for infrastructure such as roads and parking lots. The Cubs will pay for year-round upkeep of the facility, which could run almost $2 million annually, according to the team.
HoHoKam Park has been the Cubs' home since 1979, with additional training facilities at nearby Fitch Park. But the Cubs want a new complex to compare with the state of the art facilities that have popped up around the Phoenix area in recent years. The target date for the new ballpark's opening is 2013.
The Cubs have led the Cactus League in attendance 13 of the last 15 years, and they're excited to stay on as part of the local scene, said team chairman Tom Ricketts in a statement.
"I know all our great fans who have grown to love seeing the Cubs in Mesa are pleased with the result of this vote," Ricketts said. "We look forward to providing these fans and thousands more the best experience in Spring Training for decades to come."