01/21/10 6:04 PM EST
Mesa proposes plan to keep Cubs
City trying to remain North Siders' Spring Training site
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Cubs officials had yet to review the memorandum of understanding (MOU), which details that the team and city will sign a 25-year agreement, build a 15,000-seat stadium as well as a state of the art year-round facility.
"The Cubs are interested in reading through Mesa's proposal and having our board take it under review," a team spokesman said Thursday.
The Mesa city council will vote on the MOU on Monday, and if approved, the team could announce as early as Wednesday that it has agreed to the terms. A group in Naples, Fla., also had been competing for the Cubs in hopes of luring the team to Florida, but such a move would be unlikely if the proposal is approved by both the city and team.
How important are the Cubs? A recent study showed they contribute $52 million to Arizona's economy.
The proposal released Thursday by Mesa city manager Chris Brady, establishes a period for exclusive negotiations between the city of Mesa and the Cubs.
According to the MOU, the Cubs would acquire the land to handle the stadium, parking and public access roads. The site has not been officially identified, but was believed to be located in northeast Mesa off the Loop 202. The team would maintain and operate the stadium and ancillary facilities year-round and handle construction costs over the agreed amount of $84 million.
The city of Mesa will provide adequate land for the construction of the ancillary facilities and a Major League-dimensioned, shared-use four-diamond baseball complex. The city also would meet milestones related to passage of state legislation required to fund a portion of the construction of the facility and approval by Mesa voters.
In exchange for the exclusivity, the city would amend the current lease with the team and eliminate the penalty for early termination. The Cubs, who have trained at the current site in Mesa since 1979, had the ability to buyout of the contract after 2012.
Cubs pitchers and catchers have their first workout in Mesa at Fitch Park on Feb. 18.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.