Goodyear mayor: Reds deal not done
City council scheduled to vote on funding package on April 7
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A Reds official was right when he said earlier in the week a deal to move into a Spring Training complex that the team would share with the Indians wasn't sealed yet, Goodyear Mayor James Cavanaugh said.
While the financial framework for the team's move here was resolved Wednesday, Cavanaugh said the question remains whether he can convince Goodyear's city council to approve the funding package, which Reds officials and the city have declined to outline publicly.
"The City of Goodyear is coming up with $33 million," said Cavanaugh, whose city already has the funding to bring the Indians here next spring. "It's all a function of the city's willingness to do it. But I'm not sure how the council will vote."
The council is scheduled to vote on the funding package for a second team on April 7, and Cavanaugh said the council's concerns center on what pouring more city dollars into expanding the sports complex might do to other projects on the drawing board.
Goodyear, a city of 55,000 people, has plans in place to build a city center and a new City Hall in the area around the sports complex on Estrella Parkway, two miles south of Interstate 10.
"What will happen, almost assuredly, is this [project] will bump one or two other requirements that are important to us downstream," the mayor said in an interview Friday.
Absent council's approval, the city's deal with the Reds will likely not happen, unless the state comes to the rescue. Various media outlets have reported that John Allen, the former chief operating officer for the Reds and the team's point man in the negotiations, continues to talk with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority about contributing to the project.
Cavanaugh had his doubts the city and the Reds can count on the state for money, not with the tight budget the state is wrestling with.
He said the sports authority, which is providing a portion of the money for the construction of the Spring Training complex, isn't contributing to the financial package the city put together for a second clubhouse and additional diamonds at Goodyear Park.
Even if the authority did find money, it wouldn't be money Goodyear could use immediately.
"No matter what, we aren't going to have money for the Reds from any source other than our own bank account for 10, 15 years, at least," the mayor said.
But Cavanaugh said he remained hopeful that council will see the economic benefits of having a second team share the 10,000-seat ballpark and the adjunct diamonds. The state has put a figure of $20 million a year in economic benefit to the state for each Major League team with a Spring Training complex in Arizona.
Most of that money stays in the area where it is generated, Cavanaugh said.
He stressed, however, that the complex doesn't need a second team to make it viable. It's just better to have two teams, not one.
"If you can get two teams vs. one there, it's better for us," he said. "So every day, we will have a game in the month of March, which is good."
The council's vote is the last remaining hurdle, and it runs up against the final days of an exclusive 75-day negotiating window the city has with the Reds, who now train in Sarasota, Fla.. That negotiating window will close on April 11.
"[Team president Robert] Castellini and Allen told me, 'We are going to Goodyear if Goodyear has the money,'" Cavanaugh said. "That's pretty strong."
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.