The extension of Tempe’s streetcar system to Sloan Park–spring training home of the Chicago Cubs–could be explored by local officials, according to mayor Mark Mitchell.
Tempe is set to receive a new streetcar system as the result of the expansion of the Metro Valley Rail. The 13-station route has is slated to open in either 2019 or 2020, and will link to the Rio Salado Parkway.
Trying to tie into the Sloan Park, Mitchell is proposing that the streetcar eventually be extended down the Rio Salado Parkway to the ballpark. Given that Sloan Park is in Mesa, it will require that the two cities work together on the project, and so far Mesa is receptive to the idea. More from the Phoenix Business Journal:
The Cubs’ Sloan Park is located off Rio Salado Parkway just west of Loop 101 and near the Mesa-Tempe line.
Mesa Mayor John Giles and other city officials are open to the idea but also note there hasn’t been any funding identified for a possible extension.
“Extending Tempe’s Streetcar down Rio Salado Parkway to Sloan Park has been talked about for years as a potential future project. It would be a great way to connect our communities. As you know, there currently isn’t a plan or funding for this extension,” Giles said.
Giles expects the Rio Salado Pathway — a trail and bike link between Tempe Town Lake and Mesa’s Riverview Park — to be finished this year. The trail runs along the lake and Salt River. The Cubs ballpark is located at Riverview.
Sloan Park has been met with robust attendance figures since its opening in 2014, and the Cubs’ perennial status as a major draw in the Cactus League shows no signs of slowing down. Partially for that reason, talks of an alternate transportation method to and from the ballpark could gain some traction, but with no funding plan in place, there does not seem to be any imminent developments at this point. Construction on the streetcar system is expected to begin in 2017.