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At least three groups bid for new D-Backs spring facility

The city of Mesa, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Reservation in Chandler have all responded to a request for bids from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a new Phoenix-area facility, while the Colorado Rockies could conceivably share a facility as well.

The two teams currently train at Tucson’s Hi Corbett Field and Tucson Electric Park. But the long (110-mile) distance from Phoenix and the inconvenience of the only two teams training in the area is leading officials from both teams to look at Phoenix-area alternatives. They both can walk away from their leases at any time, although the timeframe to move appears to be for Spring Training 2011. Though Arizona took the initiative in creating the RFP, it’s assumed by many Colorado will be part of any deal — although it should not be forgotten that the Milwaukee Brewers’ lease at Maryvale Baseball Park ends in 2012.

Mesa is already home to HoHoKam Park and Fitch Park, the spring-training homes of the Chicago Cubs. The city is proposing a new complex near a new Gaylord Entertainment resort in east Mesa, at the intersection of Elliot and Ellsworth roads. The proposed resort and convention center isn’t a done deal, and voters still must approve

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is pitching a joint complex for the Diamondbacks and Rockies, with the prime target being a site west of 101, south of Via de Vent and north of Indian Bend Road.

The Gila River Indian Reservation has discussed a new facility on tribal land in Chandler.

One intriguing possibility: a three-team complex in Surprise. We don’t know how the logistics of a three-team facility would work, however.

Paying for a new complex will be problematic. The Maricopa County fund used to build most new spring-training facilities in the Valley is tapped out, so city and tribal officials will need to come up with their own funds. Neither team will be expected to kick in anything, either.

These are not the only three respondents to the six RFPs sent out by the Diamondbacks — there are two others, including the Fort McDowell tribe, with an unknown status.

Casa Grande officials decided to pass on the bidding process for now. The city is still looking at passing a sales tax to fund a new complex. but without the funding in hand, city officials said it would be premature to bid.