PHOENIX - Gilbert, Ariz., has put the kibosh on the idea of a bond-funded spring training facility for Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers.
The team and the suburban town east of Phoenix had made contact about the possibility of a new facility. Gilbert does not host a major league team for spring training, though neighboring Mesa is home to two facilities.
The Brewers currently train and play at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, which opened in 1998. Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels confirmed that the team had approached the city council, and that Gilbert commissioned an economic impact study, but said this week that the team’s reported desire that the town spend about $90 million of taxpayer money on the new stadium was not workable.
“The Milwaukee Brewers had contacted Gilbert about the possibility of locating a new spring training facility in Gilbert,” Daniels said in a statement. “As part of our due diligence process the town commissioned a study to understand the potential economic impact to our community. But, Gilbert officials are not negotiating and are not currently in discussions with the Brewers organization about a facility in Gilbert nor are we involved in the second impact study conducted by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce. The town is pleased to continue to receive strong interest from companies and organizations like the Milwaukee Brewers who wish to become a part of this community and the tremendous quality of life we enjoy.”
Gilbert has enjoyed steady population and business growth in the last several years, now boasting a thriving downtown crowded with shops and restaurants and a population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be more than 237,000 as of July last year, up from about 208,000 in 2010. Gilbert last issued general obligation bonds in May, and is rated triple-A by Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings and AA-plus by S&P Global Ratings. But despite having strong market access, Daniel’s said she just couldn’t justify allowing taxpayers to foot the bill.
“Gilbert enjoys a great partnership with our business community and we value each and every business that makes an investment in our community, Daniels said. “We are a financially conservative council who takes our fiduciary responsibility to the community very seriously. With this in mind, I cannot support the use of public funds to build this stadium.”