|By Virginia Korte|
One of the most important issues the City Council will address this year is the cost and scope of renovating Scottsdale Stadium, the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants.
You may recall the original stadium was built in 1956 and, using voter-approved bond funds, it was replaced with a new building in 1992. The last time the venue was renovated was in 2006.
Historically, Scottsdale Stadium, which currently seats 12,000 people, has one of the highest attendance rates of all the facilities in the Cactus League, so it plays a major role in our city’s economy. And its location in the heart of the downtown area contributes to the sustainability of Old Town businesses, restaurants and hotels.
To remain competitive with the newer, state-of-the-art spring training venues in the Valley, it’s critical that we renovate our stadium. That cost is estimated to be approximately $60 million.
Rather than using a sole source for funding, I believe it will be more financially prudent to explore a “cost-sharing” strategy to pay for the necessary renovations: The Giants should help. Given their ongoing involvement with spring training, the Charros are also in a position to contribute. The city has several potential funding sources – including additional private stakeholders, bed tax dollars designated to promote tourism and a capacity to issue bonds.
After all, Scottsdale residents are stakeholders, too. In 1992 the voters approved general obligation bonds to build the new spring training stadium. Today, Scottsdale Stadium is a vital economic driver and the ‘heart’ of our Old Town.
I believe with some ingenuity, a little creativity and a commitment from all stakeholders who benefit the most from Scottsdale Stadium, we can find a combination of ways to make the necessary improvements to our stadium.
Your opinion matters. So let me know what you think.