Korte: Ingenuity is the key to finding Scottsdale Stadium renovation funds

The City Council will be addressing many important issues this year, especially how to fund the city’s deteriorating infrastructure.

One of the most critical concerns we will be facing is the cost and scope of renovating Scottsdale Stadium, the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants.

Virginia Korte

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.

The majority of the funding for the project ($20M) was from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Association and the Maricopa County Stadium District. The city contributed only $3.1 from the Capital Improvement Fund.

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.

I encourage residents to provide us with their thoughts and ideas about renovating one of our city’s most prized assets.

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