County leader slams D-backs over stadium

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Chase Field. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Chase Field. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A county leader ripped the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, saying the team blew a chance to take Chase Field off the hands of the taxpayers. 

"I believe this is a missed opportunity not only for the Diamondbacks but for the taxpayers of Maricopa County," said County Supervisor Steve Gallardo. 

His remarks come one day after a group of potential buyers blamed the Diamondbacks for killing a deal to purchase the 20-year-old stadium from the county. 

Stadium Real Estate Partners II claimed the D-Backs refused to meet with them.

The team denies these accusations

[READ MORE: Group negotiating possible Chase Field purchase cancels deal]

Regardless, this will likely rekindle a heated argument over who pays for renovations and upgrades at Chase Field. 

Earlier this year it was reported the D-backs might skip town if they don't get the improvements they want. 

[RELATED: Diamondbacks want upgrades to ballpark or threaten to sue]

"Who's going to pay for it? Is it the taxpayers? Should it be the taxpayers? I don't think so," Gallardo said. 

Gallardo said the county doesn't have the money to make what he calls the "cosmetic" changes the Diamondbacks are asking  for. 

[RELATED: Tour of Chase Field reveals only minor maintenance issues]

To finance those improvements, Gallardo says the county needs help from the state legislature. 

But don't count on that, as incoming House Majority Leader John Allen said last week sports facilities are not a priority. 

The Diamondbacks declined to comment for this story. 

Taxpayers financed the $350 million dollar stadium in the late 1990s. The current lease with the team runs through 2028. 

[RELATED: Maricopa County to consider selling Diamondbacks' ballpark]

Gallardo says he willing to sit down with the team to find a solution. 

Unless that happens, he says the team will have to be satisfied with playing in the stadium as it is right now. 

"The days of public financing of stadiums are over I don't think the public wants that," he said. 

[RELATED: Maricopa County moves to sell Diamondbacks' ballpark]

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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