Maricopa County and the Arizona Diamondbacks are negotiating in private over the future of Chase Field, as a court-ordered mediation is set to report on the progress of talks over a lease stalemate by Jan. 15.
Well, maybe not totally resolve the issues between the two sides, as there are some pretty huge differences. The Diamondbacks are seeking to break their Chase Field lease because promised maintenance to the ballpark has not been performed by the county; Maricopa County officials say much of the maintenance is cosmetic and the responsibility of the team. The D-Backs had previously filed a suit to force the county to spend $187 million on deferred maintenance. As the lease mandated mediation as the first step in resolving differences, Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins ordered the two sides to mediation. Issues at Chase Field in 2017 have included a burst sanitation pipe that forced D-Backs workers from their offices, as well as a problem with the air-conditioning system flooding restaurants, team offices and suites before a game. The D-Backs believe that additional pipes around the ballpark are “rotting from the inside,” and that those issues most be resolved within the year.
One concern being raised by local officials: if the Diamondbacks and Maricopa County resolve their differences, a new agreement could be approved 24 hours after being announced, without leaving much time for public input, per the Arizona Republic:
But if the parties reach a mutual resolution, taxpayers might have only 24 hours to review the deal before the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors votes on it, the county’s private attorney Grady Gammage Jr. said.
That’s the minimum amount of time under Arizona law that local governments must allow before calling a vote.
The county board might allow additional time for review, Gammage said, but noted he hadn’t discussed the possibility with supervisors.
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