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Mesa to pay off debt on Cubs, A’s spring stadiums early, save millions

(Twitter Photo/@SloanParkMesa)

PHOENIX – The Mesa City Council approved a plan to pay off debt on the city’s two spring training stadiums nearly 13 years early, resulting in $22 million in savings.

Arizona’s third-largest city took on $94 million in debt in 2013 to build Sloan Park, keeping the megapopular Chicago Cubs from leaving for greener pastures, and renovate Hohokam Stadium, spring home of the Oakland Athletics.

The East Valley suburb paid off $45 million of the debt in July 2017 and has now authorized taking the remaining $49 million off the books.

“Very few communities can say that they have paid off their stadiums and even fewer in just five years,” Mayor John Giles said in a press release. “Now, every dollar generated by spring training goes directly to the city.”

“Thank you to the 2010 Mesa City Council who had the foresight to set this innovative plan in motion.”

The plan included the sale of city-owned farmland in Pinal County to pay off the debt. The last phase of the property sale was completed in June.

Under the original debt structure, payments, including millions in additional interest, would have been made through July 2032.

The city is aiming to complete the payoff transaction by Sept. 5.

During 2019 spring training, the Cubs hosted the five largest crowds in Cactus League history at Sloan Park, topped by a record 16,100 for a rare Arizona appearance by the Boston Red Sox.

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