Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mesa makes commitment to keep Cubs

Mesa voted unanimously last night to approve a new stadium, clubhouse, and training facility to keep the Cubs in Mesa. It appears that there are still kinks to be worked out, like where the stadium will be located and how, exactly, it will be paid for, but the agreement approved by the council would give Mesa the exclusive rights to get a deal done, which would take Florida off the table.

This is a good step forward for Mesa, getting the exclusive rights to make a deal happen and prevent any more actions by the Cubs to keep playing one state off of another. Now, we have to wait and see if the Cubs are willing to sign the agreement as well.

As we have said before, the economic benefits that the Cubs bring not only to Mesa but the entire valley cannot be overemphasized. They are the biggest draw in the Cactus League and the rising tide that raises all of the other teams. There is a reason that legislators outside of Mesa are willing to help make sure that this deal happens - they understand the fiscal impact that this would have on the valley.

The bad news is that there is a fairly aggressive set of timelines that need to be met to keep this deal on track. One of which, shouldn't be that much of a surprise, but you guessed it, the issue will also have to face an Election! What would a premier project be in Mesa without a vote of the people?

The other bit of difficult news is the notion that now is the time to build a new stadium when state and local budgets are in such need. Our response to that is think of the alternative. If Mesa does nothing to keep the Cubs, the action would further depress the local economy in the short term and would dim our city's economic viability in the long term. We are still very dependent on sale tax revenue to fund city services, and tax revenue is generated by attracting people to the City.

So, now, we just have to wait and see what the Cubs will do.

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