Arizona Cardinals training camp moving from Flagstaff to Glendale?

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By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The city of Glendale is doing everything it can to encourage the  Arizona Cardinals to move their annual training camp from Flagstaff to Glendale.

The City Council is slated to hold an informational meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss progress on the negotiations. If everything shakes out the way the city would like, Cards training camp will be held in Glendale for the next 15 years, starting this summer.

According to the Horatio Skeete, Glendale's acting city manager since June, the negotiations are in the "final stages" and there should be a Memorandum of Understanding for the City Council to consider soon.

"[W]e are hopeful of being able to come to an agreement very shortly …," Skeete wrote on Tuesday's meeting agenda.

Cards camp has been held on the Northern Arizona University campus in Flagstaff since the team moved from St. Louis to Arizona in 1988. For 25 years, Cardinals fans have made the trek to the high country in July and August  to watch the team in action, preparing for the season to come.

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, the camp pumps about $10 million into the Flagstaff economy every summer.

The team's contract with NAU expired last year, opening the door for University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

“They are (a viable option),” team president Michael Bidwill said of Glendale in late January during a radio chat with “Bickley and MJ” on XTRA 910 while in New Orleans for the Super Bowl.

Regardless of where camp is held, Bidwill promised fans that they will enjoy the same access they always have.

"The whole idea behind training camp is both a football activity where we are getting players ready for the season, but it is also a fan activity where we want to bring fans in,” Bidwill said during the Jan. 31 radio interview. “There are many elements where it is great about doing it in Flagstaff, but there are also great possibilities of doing it at University of Phoenix Stadium. It could be a really a fantastic site. There are a little bit of tradeoffs, but there is no doubt (the camp experience) gets better and better each year and that is something we want to continue to focus on.”

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“Northern Arizona University, in partnership with Flagstaff, made an extraordinary offer and worked diligently to negotiate with the team,” NAU President John Haeger said on the NAU news website last week. “We expect to receive official notice from the team at any time.”

“We are committed to offering the same high level of service to the Cardinals and their fans and being a part of one of the team’s longest-standing traditions since it moved to Arizona,” he continued. “If the team announces it will not return, the university will immediately begin planning other uses for our facilities that assure both revenue for the community and support for our academic mission.”

Prescott also is vying to become the Cardinals' summer home. The city hosted the Red Birds in 2005 when there was a norovirus outbreak at NAU.

Prescott officials proposed hosting the training camp at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University until a sports complex could be built.

It's not clear when the team will make its decision.