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Mesa OKs spring training deal with Cubs
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/25/2010 9:26 PM | Updated: 1/25/2010 9:26 PM

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All signs point to the Cubs announcing within the next several days that they'll enter into exclusive negotiations with Mesa, Ariz., to build a new spring-training complex there.

The East Valley Tribune in Mesa reported Monday night that the Mesa city council "approved it's end of a deal to build a new spring-training complex dubbed Wrigleyville West." The paper said the city is "awaiting word at any hour that the Chicago Cubs will call Arizona their winter home for 25 more years."

Cubs sources said Monday that no immediate announcement was forthcoming but that the team likely would have something to say this week, with a timeline for announcement in place possibly as early as Tuesday.

Although the East Valley Tribune reported some opposition to the plan, the paper quoted Mesa Mayor Scott Smith as saying: "I look at this as economic preservation."

The Cubs had been courted heavily by Naples, Fla., which was looking to lure the top draw of the Cactus League to the Grapefruit League with its own version of a sprawling spring-training complex that also would house the team's minor-league operations and serve as a year-round headquarters.

The Cubs have been in Mesa continuously since 1979. They also trained in Mesa from 1952-65.

The Arizona legislature must approve a bill for tourism taxes to fund part of the complex, and Mesa voters must approve two ballot measures. A vote is likely in November, according to the East Valley Tribune.

The new facility, on the east-northeast side of Mesa, would contain a new, 15,000 stadium, minor-league facilities and would serve as the team's year-round headquarters. The cost is estimated at $84 million. The Cubs and Mesa hope the complex would spur economic development in the immediate area.