The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played Tuesday night in Kansas City, but there were plenty of heavy hitters present Wednesday morning as the Chicago Cubs and the City of Mesa broke ground on a new, $99M year-round facility — Riverview Park.
The project, at the SEC of the intersection of the Loop 101 and 202 freeways, was approved by Mesa voters in 2010. The park will feature a 15,000-fan main stadium with a video board, shaded seats and luxury suites as well as improved concessions and restrooms. Construction is scheduled to be completed before the 2014 spring training season.
“A stadium is a stadium; the beauty is the game,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. “This has been a community effort. It’s all about the Cactus League and what it means to the Valley and Arizona.”
Added Chicago Cubs Executive Vice President Mike Lufrano: “This facility will provide the best fan experience in spring training and offer world class training and development facilities for our players year round. We look forward to bringing this new ballpark to Mesa and continuing our commitment to work together on a stadium which will make the community proud.”
Dignitaries who addressed the crowd of about 200 people included Jody Davis, a former Cubs catcher; Tom Ricketts, team chairman; David Bower, principal of architectural firm Populous; Robert G. Hunt, president and CEO of general contractor Hunt Construction; and several Mesa city officials. A tribute was given to Robert Brinton, a longtime advocate of the Cactus League who passed away last October at age 60.
When completed, Riverview Park will feature four MLB fields, which the Chicago Cubs will use during spring training; team training facilities, which will provide the team year-round player development; and the 15,000-seat main stadium.
Other amenities will include multiple entrances to the park, heavily landscaped grounds, a large, open concourse, a seating bowl with 70% of the seats in the shade, and features that will capture the intimacy of Wrigley Field in Chicago.
“Congratulations to Mesa, this will be a knock-dead facility,” said Bower, who added that the Phoenix office of DWL Architects-Planners will also be a part of the design team. “It will be second to none in the Cactus League.”
The Arizona State University baseball team is scheduled to play its games at Riverview Park once it is completed, but negotiations are still on-going.