PHOENIX (AP) Some city leaders in a Phoenix suburb are having second thoughts about spending $33 million needed to lure the Cincinnati Reds to a new spring training home.
The money would be spent on a new ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz.
“The issue is the money,” said Councilwoman Joanne Osborne, who opposes paying for the new facilities. “It’s about priorities. We don’t have a downtown. We don’t have a library. We don’t have the things our citizens want and have asked for.”
Goodyear had been counting on sales tax from a booming construction industry. But now, city officials say they expect $12 million less than anticipated this year.
The Reds, whose current spring training home is in Sarasota, Fla., are interested in joining the Cactus League in 2010, but four Goodyear City Council members must agree to pay for the team’s training facilities.
Only three are on board.
Supporters of building a spring training home for the Reds argue that spending $33 million on a clubhouse and practice fields is an investment that will payoff for years to come.
Work has already begun in Goodyear on a stadium and practice facility for the Indians, who will move there next year from Winter Haven, Fla.
To bring in the Indians, Goodyear split the $75 million cost for that project with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.
In adding the Reds, Goodyear would pay the full $33 million because funding from the sports authority has dried up.
If Goodyear and the Reds don’t reach an agreement by next month, the team can walk away from exclusive negotiations.
Some council members in Goodyear hope it doesn’t come to that.
“I’m for it 100 percent,” Councilman Dick Sousa said. “With two teams, and the enthusiasm of two Ohio teams, I think the impact on tourism would be so great over a long haul.”
The Reds’ lease in Sarasota expires in October, with three additional one-year lease options through 2011.