Mesa chases new site for softball fields - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Mesa chases new site for softball fields

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Posted: Friday, September 14, 2007 1:32 am | Updated: 6:25 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

With less than two months until the Nov. 6 election, Mesa officials are still struggling to find somewhere to locate the softball fields at Riverview Park that would be displaced if voters approve the Waveyard resort.

The city’s proposals have varied wildly since one plan was launched in May to locate two softball fields at Kleinman Park, 710 S. Extension Road.

Since then, city officials discussed sending the softball complex out to Red Mountain Park in west Mesa, where the city already owns land designated for softball fields.

However, Mesa is now looking into more than 10 different properties in west Mesa, some owned by the city and others privately.

The Mesa Grande Community Alliance, a collection of neighborhood groups in west Mesa, issued a letter this week that says the new location of the ballfields needs to be announced before early balloting starts for the Nov. 6 election.

Owen Layton, an alliance member, said the city originally said the lost parkland would stay in west Mesa, and he wants to see it stay that way.

“They’ve got a promise to keep, that’s the way I see it,” he said. “Their commitment is to keep the parks in west Mesa.”

On Thursday, the Parks and Recreation Board met to discuss the latest of the proposals on the parkland.

Scot Rigby, a city management assistant, said the city has been out to look at a number of city-owned parcels, including one at Center Street and Loop 202.

Kleinman Park is also receiving scrutiny from the city, after many months of looking elsewhere.

Mesa would face spending millions in improvements on new softball fields. If the city has to acquire property for the fields, the costs will rise even more.

As part of a development agreement with Waveyard, the city would receive $10 million in exchange for 121 acres at Riverview Park. The city has pledged $20 million in development incentives if the park is approved.

However, the city is not making any promises about whether a deal will be in place before the vote on Waveyard.

“I think the ultimate goal is to have an answer prior to the vote,” said J.D. Dockstader, assistant director for commercial facilities. “But it’s not worth making a knee-jerk reaction.”

Meanwhile, the Mesa Grande Alliance is suggesting that the city look at Kleinman Park, perform upgrades on Riverview Park, create pocket parks, a dog park and make other improvements in west Mesa.

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