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November 03, 2010

Mesa voters approve blank check for Cubs spring-training field

Only one big stadium referendum this year, in Mesa, Arizona, where voters decisively approved spending $99 million on a new spring training stadium for the Chicago Cubs:

The city will provide up to $99 million to construct the complex two miles southwest of the Cubs' current facility at Hohokam Park. Any additional funds and upkeep of the new park will be financed by the Cubs, who plan to develop a shopping and entertainment area near the ballpark. ...
Mesa's funding will come, in large part, from the sale of undeveloped city land.

The referendum actually approves spending "more than $1.5 million" on a Cubs facility, and critics have warned that the final price tag could be higher than $99 million. The Cubs have promised that won't be the case, but that's currently a non-binding agreement. And they still haven't agreed on how much rent they'll pay yet. All this will presumably be hammered out in future negotiations between the team and the city of Mesa.

Assuming it goes forward, the Cubs say they'll build a shopping center called "Wrigleyville West," which according to CSN Chicago will "attempt to recreate the atmosphere surrounding Clark and Addison with shops, bars and restaurants." Only in the desert. And without all the actual people who live in Wrigleyville. Why does this sound like it should really be in Vegas?


It never ceases to amaze me the STUPIDITY of the public.
Common sense is an uncommon commodity, and the stupid outnumber the else to explain people APPROVING additional taxation on themselves for a private company's (Chicago Cubs)need???

Will tickets and concessions be FREE to the people of MESA? Or will they get the double whammy of paying for a new stadium AND then having to pay for tickets and hot dogs and beers every time they walk through the turn-styles?

Posted by Guy Fawkes on November 3, 2010 10:48 AM

here we go again, hide your wallets...

Posted by paul w. on November 3, 2010 01:41 PM

Guy Fawkes, you didn't say if you live in Mesa, but I you do, living in the City of Santa Clara, I know exactly how you feel.

In fact, in the council election last night, people re-elected two stadium supporters and returned another after a four year hiatus (that included a stint as the 49ers measure J spokesperson!).

All while the city has multimillion dollar shortfalls.

At times like this I feel like the character at the beginning of Rashomon saying "I don't understand, I don't understand."

Posted by santa clara jay on November 3, 2010 06:36 PM

So while China builds factories and India builds a wealth of knowledge over here in North America we're building more stadiums and arenas to create shopping centers and hotel districts.

Where can a North American (Canadian, if you want specifics) immigrate to easily in this world? This is getting embarrassing.

Posted by Andrew T on November 4, 2010 12:38 AM

Nobody ever proved the synonymous that Cubs fans were intelligent fans.

Posted by Mark on November 4, 2010 02:38 PM

The ballpark is being paid for by a land sale and a hotel/motel tax. It is not being paid for by the taxpayers of Mesa... unless the live in motels or hotels.
Cubs fans who come to Mesa will ultimately bring massive amounts of cash into the Mesa economy.

Posted by Darrell on November 4, 2010 03:22 PM

A land sale by the city of Mesa, so taxpayers are giving up an asset to pay for the stadium. It's a bit like saying, "I didn't pay anything for my vacation - I sold my car to pay for it!"

As for "massive amounts of cash," the Cubs sold 152,493 spring training tickets this year, so to generate a reasonable return on Mesa's investment, each ticket-buyer would have to spend about $50 just in local taxes. It might have been cheaper just to spend several million dollars a year to bribe people to visit Mesa.

Posted by Neil on November 4, 2010 06:41 PM

I live in Mesa and can attest that Darrell's attitude is predominant. Obviously the 'unused land' could be sold to pay for city infrastructure, or simply to reduce city debt, but somehow it's a freebie if used to pay for a subsidized ballpark. And that 'massive amount' of cash that will come Mesa's way? Also never substantiated. Not once - literally NOT ONCE - did any city official ever give a numeric answer when asked how much tax revenue the city of Mesa is expected to realize from this venture. "The Cubs bring a lot of economic activity to the Valley" was the common answer. But of course "the Valley" isn't paying for the ballpark.

How much revenue can Mesa expect? "The Cubs are an important part of Mesa's heritage."

Thanks, but how much revenue can the city of Mesa expect from the ballpark? "The Cubs have been part of Mesa for 50 years."

Nice, but how much revenue can Mesa expect from the ballpark? "Cubs fans who come to Mesa will ultimately bring massive amounts of cash into the Mesa economy."

And on and on. You know you're being had when nobody - absolutely nobody - will give you an answer to the question, "What is the return on my investment?" None of these people would put their money into a bank without any assurance of getting their money back, but somehow they think the money fairy will make Mesa whole if we toss the cash into a subsidized sports venture.

It's sad and it's sick, but Mesa has been infected with sports madness, and when that happens common sense just takes wing. And saddest of all, they are going to pave over a nice park and golf course as part of this disgusting venture.

Posted by Dave Boz on November 5, 2010 12:08 AM

The sale of that land sounds interesting. There was an article 9/17/09 about the Rockies and Reds getting new spring training fax in Arizona. It turns out Federal "Stimulus" money is helping with the financing via an Indian Tribe's allocation, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Tribe. A "Stimulus" program provided for $30 million tax free financing to the Tribe, and the bank involved also got breaks. When is MLB going to qualify as a business and not just a sport?, "Stimulus money will help build E. Valley baseball complex," by Glen Creno.

Posted by chili palmer on November 8, 2010 04:26 AM

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