The City of Mesa identified three possible homes for the Riverview ball fields on Wednesday, the eve of the first day it can start to receive ballots on the Waveyard project.
The three parcels all belong to the city and are all in west Mesa, a sticking point for neighborhood groups who had worried about losing park space in the area.
The $250 million Waveyard project would bring a water-themed adventure park, hotels and condominiums to the park near Eighth Street and Dobson Road, if Mesa voters approve a $20 million incentive package on Nov. 6,
The city clerk’s office will begin receiving early ballots for the election today.
As part of the development agreement, the city will have to find about 16 acres for replacement park space and to relocate the Riverview ball fields.
The first parcel is near the U.S. 60 and Country Club Drive, on South Lewis and Coury Ave. The 25.5 acres is a retention basin for the freeway, designed to hold water in the case of overflow, said J.D. Dockstader, assistant director of business operations for Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities.
If necessary, the city could add dirt and raise part of the basin to hold sports fields, he said.
A second site of about 18 acres near Center Street and Loop 202 is used by the solid waste department to store blue and black recycling and trash barrels, along with equipment stored by other departments, Dockstader said.
The third option the city named was Kleinman Park, at 710 S. Extension, an existing 24-acre park. The city has determined the park could be reconfigured to hold four ball fields, but it wouldn’t add acres to Kleinman, Dockstader said.
“There’s a possibility the city would add park acres in another part of town to compensate for that lot,” he said.
Mesa resident Marilynn Wennerstrom said relocating the four Riverview softball fields to Kleinman Park would result in a net loss of park space in West Mesa.
“That is just asinine,” she said. “It’s ruining it for the people who used that park. There are a lot of people there picnicking. Just imagine what that will do to that park.”
Tanya Collins, co-chair of neighborhood group Mesa Grande Community Alliance, said she was satisfied with the city’s proposal.
“This isn’t so much about the ball fields, which of course are important, but the city’s credibility in keeping its promise,” she said.
The steering committee for Mesa Grande Community Alliance sent a letter to the city in September calling for the new location of the park to be announced before the Waveyard election.
Collins said she expects the same tournament-quality complex currently at Riverview, “not just ball fields thrown on a piece of land.”
“Anything else they want to add as amenities, we’re certainly open for that,” she said.
Waveyard developer Jerry Hug said he has been closely following the ball-field discussion.
“We feel it’s got to be done, and done correctly to the satisfaction of the neighborhood groups,” he said.
On a side note, Hug said the public should expect to see television commercials about Waveyard soon.