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Changes ahead for Goodyear Ballpark area

If you were at spring training this year and happened to attend a game in Goodyear, you likely noticed the construction happening around Goodyear Ballpark. There’s more construction and activity ahead for the spring home of the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians.

When you go way back when Goodyear Ballpark was first planned by the West Valley community, it was foreseen as making an economic impact on the suburban community. But the impact never came: the planned development fizzled out, and while the residential growth indeed came to the area, the retail/hotel growth did not. Goodyear Ballpark isn’t heavily used outside of spring training, though the city does hold some events there, and it’s hard for retail to rely on only two big months.

Still, Goodyear officials never gave up the dream, and now we have two developments that should bring some new life to the area.

First: the city is drawing on the tried-and-true formula of using sports tourism to attract visitors and spending. Perfect Game, specializing in amateur youth baseball and softball, will use Goodyear Ballpark facilities as a hub for tournaments and other baseball activities in the Phoenix metro area. In total, 26 Perfect Game tournaments and events are planned to be hosted at Goodyear Ballpark facilities. The schedule kicks off with a Memorial Day Classic, which will feature over 90 teams and 1,000 players from around the country.

“Perfect Game is excited to enter into this partnership with the city of Goodyear.  Goodyear, in particular, and the surrounding area, in general, are baseball and softball hotbeds, producing some of the most passionate athletes and fans of the sports,” said Perfect Game CEO Rob Ponger via press release. “We look forward to increasing our presence in the southwest, and Arizona has quickly become the hub of our activities in the region. From our popular All American Classic, to be played in Phoenix this August, to the events scheduled for Goodyear, the area will play an important role in helping Perfect Game make dreams come true for hundreds of young athletes.”

The second development is a small development, to be sure: Five acres from the 284-acre Ballpark Village master plan will be rezoned from commercial to mixed-use to accommodate new player housing as well as a section of retail. To be located at the northeast corner of Estrella Parkway and Bullard Avenue–adjoining the southern end of the Reds training complex on Bullard–the new housing will be open both to players and non-baseball folks, though the obvious intent is to serve the Reds. The new development will augment the other new housing along Bullard next to the spring training facilities.

Now, a five-acres development will hardly impact the Goodyear tax base. Still, after years of inactivity, it’s nice to see some potential growth in the form of more housing and thousands of families regularly visiting the area.

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