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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : sports : sports November 25, 2015

12/11/2012 10:00:00 PM
1st phase of a proposed Arizona Cardinals' camp site in Prescott has early estimate of $18M
Local taxpayers likely would be asked to help pay for expansive project
Les Stukenberg/The Daily CourierFans turned out Aug. 4, 2005, when the Arizona Cardinals spent their training camp at Pioneer Park in Prescott.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Fans turned out Aug. 4, 2005, when the Arizona Cardinals spent their training camp at Pioneer Park in Prescott.
Doug Cook
The Daily Courier

In hopes of luring the Arizona Cardinals to Prescott for the NFL team's training camp next summer and beyond, the city's Chamber of Commerce is proposing to build a multi-million-dollar sports complex in the coming years through a public-private partnership.

On Tuesday, the Daily Courier obtained an advance copy of the Chamber, the Town of Prescott Valley and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's proposal to the Cardinals' brass to replace the City of Flagstaff as the new home of the Phoenix-based franchise's annual camp.

"I've had the question a couple times: Why did Prescott bid on this?" Prescott Chamber of Commerce CEO David Maurer said Tuesday. "And my answer has been: Because we were given the opportunity to. We felt if we didn't put in a proposal, then that would probably take us out of any future consideration."

In addition to building new permanent indoor and outdoor practice facilities at a yet-to-be determined site in Prescott, the city could pursue construction of "a privately financed, owned and operated" 125- to 150-room hotel nearby.

Prescott's proposal states that the city might consider erecting a sports complex that includes several lighted outdoor soccer/lacrosse/football fields at a site in the city that would attract youth/amateur tournaments, camps and academies year-round while being the Cards' training camp host over the summer.

Maurer said he would like the Cardinals to weigh in on what kind of facility would meet their long-term needs, although it's clearly not just for them.

"Before the Cardinals even came into the picture, there were some people beginning to talk about the idea of a sports complex that could house any or all of the following: soccer, football, lacrosse," Maurer said. "With or without the Cardinals, we think there's an opportunity for a youth and amateur sports complex somewhere here that central Yavapai County is going to benefit from in the long run."

Among other things, the complex could include an approximately $5 million bubble-roof field house with a synthetic turf field that both the Cardinals and youth sports teams would use.

In "Creating a Youth and Amateur Sports Tourism Strategy for the Greater Prescott Region," a conceptual plan written by attorney Brad Wright for the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, Wright states that "it is reasonable to assume that the Prescott region could stimulate more than $3 million to $5 million" annually from out-of-town visitors from amateur sports activities.

Prescott Valley Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said his municipality would be a short- and long-term partner with Prescott and ERAU if the Cardinals consider the Prescott Chamber's proposal.

"We want to bring in additional tourists to the area, and Prescott Valley would be a beneficiary of that with our hotels and restaurants," he said.

However, Wright says that taxpayers would likely have to foot a large portion of the bill to build a sports complex. He writes that the first phase alone would require "somewhere in the neighborhood of" $20 million.

Wright argues that the most feasible revenue generator could be a restaurant sales tax in which "more than one municipality in the Quad-City area" of Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley and Dewey-Humboldt contributes.

Maurer said that the restaurant sales tax is a possibility, but he would like to see the Cardinals commit some money to the project. He added that he thinks there is support in the private sector for this endeavor.

"Our hope is, if the Cardinals agree with the concept and are willing to talk and dream a little bit with us, that we can have those discussions once they've made their decision," he said. "Until that point, we're not going to go out and start trying to raise taxes or anything like that."

Other funding sources for the complex could include a sales-tax increase, hotel bed tax, general sales tax, a community facilities district, a private land contribution and a corporate sponsorship, among others, Wright wrote.

Wright estimates that total economic impact for the Prescott-PV area could be about $25 million per year, excluding Cardinals training camp, which could generate multiple millions more.

Even if the Cardinals do not choose Prescott as their training-camp site, Wright said that Prescott should still pursue a youth/amateur sports complex.

Flagstaff, whose three-year contract with the Cardinals expired in August; the City of Glendale; and Prescott are currently showing interest in being the training camp host. The Cardinals are expected to select a host city by the week of Feb. 11, 2013, according to franchise.

Maurer said he's unsure of the length of the training-camp contract, but based on the information that the Cardinals provided in their request for proposals, it could be anywhere from 3-5 years, or perhaps longer.

During the short term, Maurer said Embry-Riddle and the Pioneer Park fields in Prescott would host Cards camp.

The Cardinals have tentatively scheduled their 2013 training camp in a six-week window from July 24 through Aug. 28.

However, Embry-Riddle can make its campus available for the Cardinals only until Aug. 19 because of the start of the university's fall term. Maurer said a local hotel would agree to house the players for the remainder of camp.

Back in 2005, ERAU hosted the Cardinals after a virus outbreak at the Northern Arizona University campus in Flagstaff, where camp has been conducted for more than 20 years.

Then, as now, Embry-Riddle would provide on-campus housing, temporary locker rooms and training rooms.

Prescott's Pioneer Park would also again offer two full-size football fields and a slightly smaller field. In addition, the Cards would have access to Ken Lindley Field near downtown Prescott for scrimmages.

However, the Cardinals require their training camp host to have an indoor practice facility that the team can use at all times when it's either too hot or it's raining.

Prescott's proposal lists Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, a 135,000-square-foot hockey arena with 5,200 seats, as a temporary complex for the Cardinals.

In contrast, NAU's Walkup Skydome, the Cards' indoor facility in Flagstaff, was built for multiple purposes, including football. It is 272,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of more than 14,400.

By 2014, part of Prescott's proposal states that the city would determine whether it could afford to build the indoor complex with a regulation-sized synthetic turf field, lockers and storage as part of the sports complex.

Maurer thinks the Cardinals stand to benefit from what Prescott's offering them.

"Hopefully, they'll call us and say, 'We'd like to talk. We'd like to get a little more information on what you have planned,'" he said. "It's a unique proposal that offers them a long-term opportunity."

Related Stories:
• Prescott bids for Cardinals summer camp
• Cardinals training camp contract up for grabs

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: jennifer brown

Extremely wonderful piece, really practical information. Never ever believed I would obtain the information I want in this article. I've been looking all over the place in the internet for some time now and was starting to get dejected. Happily, I arrived onto your site and received specifically what I was battling to find.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: ronald raygun

Cardinals? Ha Ha Ha really? Lose lose situation.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Sheesh Deluxe

While we're at it, let's build a monorail!

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Nancy Shelton

While I doubt that building a sports arena where people actually ATTEND events really brings in the dollars that are always claimed, building a sports arena for PRACTICE certainly does not bring any measurable tourist dollars to the community.

This is the usual sports arena "boondoogle" that takes taxpayer money to benefit private interest, except it is even worse than the usual sports area "boondoggle"

Looks like it will be under $40 million so the public won't be able to vote on it.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Yukon Jack


As pointed out, if this is such a great idea there should be plenty of private money to support it. I wish them well.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: What about this?

The Cards go to Prescott's golf course. Lots of land for football there. That way we could only throw taxpayer money away on one location. If they need an indoor location, how about the old movie theater at Frontier Village?

Not one dime should be given for this nonsense. Give money to businesses so we can hope to make money from kids playing sports? More Local Liberal Brain Trust thinking.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Sell Them The Golf Course

There is some nice turf over at the Golf Course. Let them see what they can do with that land.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: If it's so Great You build it

David, if this is such a great deal you shouldn't have a problem raising private capital to build it. We all need to rise up and let David and our city council know NOT ONE RED CENT OF TAXPAYERS MONEY for a pipe dream like this and particularly to support a PRO Team.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

I love the Voodo Economic Estimates of Impact. Hey, I think it could bring in at least a billion or two. Tell you what Dave Maurer, have city budget buy a thousand lottery tickets a week and if you hit, build a sports complex. One thing we do need around here is a lacrosse field thought. I really miss that.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Field of Dreams Part III

Remember when David Maurer floating his “Field of Dreams” baseball facility proposal at a cost of an estimated $25-million? Before that he floated his professional baseball team proposal. David has a long history of floating pipe dreams to see if they snag any real money, so far they have not. And my tax dollars are not for private ventures like this.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Thresher

This sounds to me like another ploy by builders, developers, and land owners to soak the taxpayers with another sports complex boondoggle. Our economy is not out of the woods yet and we the taxpayers are fed up with the continuous grab for our wallets to make rich team owners even more wealthy. We should look at the financial mess in Glendale with the Phoenix Coyotes to see what our future could be if we give the Chamber of Commerce and politicians access to our tax dollars for a sports complex. Any proposal has to go before the voters and we will determine how our tax dollars are spent. Don't believe the hype folks, someone is poised to make a lot of money at our expense and these types of deals are never beneficial to the taxpayers.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Economic Impact

Flagstaff Mayor was on the Phx news quoting the actual ecomomic impact to Flagstaff as $9 million. Interesting that the Prescott estimate has been doubled.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Mayor of Flagstaff says

Just throw some more baseless numbers around. It would be good for the economy, why make-up numbers?

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Article comment by: Clement R.

My memory is fading here, but does anyone remember when we were told that some manufacturing facility might come here because another town was giving the company a "bad' time? The company never located here and I suspect that company got what it wanted from the other town. Isn't it just possible that the Cardinals are just trying to rattle Flagstaff's cage and extort some more "goodies" from our friends to the north?

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