Nice milestone in Mesa, as the city and the Chicago Cubs this morning dedicated Cubs Park, a new spring-training complex and a rebuilt and enhanced Riverview Park on a 146-acre site.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Cubs Park, Cubs board members Tom and Laura Ricketts, front office executives Crane Kenney and Theo Epstein and Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins joined a host of state and city officials including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
The new spring-training facility was built in just 15 months by Hunt Construction Group and Populous.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said the new spring-training facility will dramatically improve player training and development and provide the team with a competitive advantage.
“This new ballpark and player development facility will allow our players to better train and compete,” Ricketts said. “To achieve our goal of winning a World Championship, we must be able to provide our players with the world-class facilities they deserve.”
The new ballpark’s seating capacity of 15,000 is the largest in the Cactus League, and the park is anticipated to be one of the biggest attractions during spring training.
Mayor Scott Smith said the new Cubs Spring Training facility and Riverview Park will be a boon to economic development for Mesa.
“The new Cubs Park and Riverview Park will provide a Spring Training experience like no other in Major League Baseball,” he said. “The two parks are connected by a palm tree lined paseo with opportunities for retail, restaurant and hotel development on either side. Mesa calls March our second Christmas when it comes to sales tax numbers due to the influx of spring-training spending. I can’t think of a better way to support the economy than to build on our success and develop the parks into a destination for all to play and stay.”
Spring training in Mesa has a tremendous economic impact for the City and the State of Arizona, according to local officials. A 2010 report prepared by EDP & Co stated the Cubs generate an economic impact of nearly $138 million to the state during spring training, while a recent study by FMR Associates of Tucson estimated the Cactus League delivers $422 million of direct economic benefit to the state.
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