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Cubs meet again with Mesa officials; decision could come this week

After meeting again with Mesa officials yesterday, the Chicago Cubs may be close to making a decision on the location of a new spring-training facility.

We're getting down to the wire on the Chicago Cubs' decision on a new spring-training locale; the club met yesterday with Mesa officials, and we're told that a decision will be imminent on who makes the first cut — that is, who the Cubs will sign an agreement for an exclusive negotiating period.

The Cubs Board of Directors will discuss the matter on Friday. That's led some other media outlets to speculate that the Cubs will make a decision then. We're told the board could indeed make a decision — or not. True, it's not likely the board of directors will pass on any decision, there's the chance one side or the other will be asked to provide more data. The decision is between Mesa and Naples, Florida.

Interestingly, both proposals are shaping up to be very similar. Both call for $120-million developments. Both calls for the government to pay for an $80-million spring-training development; in Florida the state will be asked for the money, while in Mesa a local hotel-tax hike would fund the ballpark and training complex. Both call for $40 million in associated development, funded by the private sector. A big difference: Mesa voters would need to approve any training-complex plan, while a Naples project would not require public approval. We would expect a referendum to pass easily: the Cubs are very popular in the city, and there's no local tax hike involved.

The Cubs have been training in Mesa since 1952.

RELATED STORIES: Mesa to ask for state aid to keep Cubs; Cubs seriously looking at Naples spring-training bid; Naples: We're serious about landing the Cubs; Ricketts to visit Mesa next week to tour potential spring-training sites; Lawmaker: Florida should up spending to lure spring camps for Cubs, Brewers; Cubs' spring-training future doesn't lie in HoHoKam Park; Mesa delegation to pitch Cubs on spring-training facilities

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