Mesa voters OK new Cubs spring ballpark

Mesa voters OK new Cubs spring ballpark

CHICAGO -- The Cubs will get their new Spring Training facility in Mesa.

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed Proposition 420 and approved the city of Mesa's plan for an $84 million complex expected to open in 2013. With 99.3 percent of precincts reporting, 63 percent voted in favor of the measure.

"The Cubs have been in Mesa for close to 50 years," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told reporters in Mesa on Tuesday night. "We'd like to stay in Mesa for another 50 years, and we look forward to taking what is truly a great Spring Training experience and turning it into the most remarkable Spring Training experience ever."

Supporters of the measure watched election results at the Hilton Phoenix East Mesa Hotel Tuesday night, eating Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Several Cubs front-office staff, in Mesa for the annual organizational meetings, were at polling places early Tuesday to answer questions.

Proposition 420 authorizes the city of Mesa to spend more than $1.5 million on a sporting facility. Voters also approved raising the city's hotel tax from 3 percent to 5 percent. Mesa officials say they will not need to raise property or sales taxes for the project.

The Cubs' complex will be built at the current Riverview Park site in west Mesa near the 202 Loop and include a privately funded Wrigleyville West development.

The Cubs generate $138 million a year state-wide, according to a study, and the team had considered moving their Spring Training facility, which is used year-round for player development, to Naples, Fla. Mesa officials tried to get state funding for the project, but that failed.

The city and the Cubs still have to finalize details for the land because of a water park developer who also wanted the Riverview site.

"Mesa has done its part," Mesa mayor Scott Smith said Tuesday night. "Now we're going to expect the Cubs to do their part with a World Series."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.