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The construction of the new Chicago Cubs spring training stadium is underway. On Wednesday, the City of Mesa hosted a groundbreaking ceremony with local dignitaries and the Cubs franchise.
City leaders and club officials broke ground on the $99 million project near 8th Street and Dobson. That will be the new location of the Chicago Cubs spring training camp. Despite the scorching heat, everyone was all smiles and cheering, especially as Chicago Cubs President Tom Ricketts made reference to a long-held dream.
"You know we have the mayor and the city council here. Maybe we'd name this street World Series Drive," Ricketts said.
Ricketts said the new stadium serves to assure Arizonans the Chicago Cubs will stay in Mesa, and the facility will help develop a successful team.
"The Chicago Cubs are committed to having the best player development organization in all of baseball, critical to building that system is to have best in class facilities where we can develop our players year round," said the Cubs owner.
The new stadium will hold 15,000 people with shaded and lawn seating areas, luxury suites, and a video board. It will include an outdoor plaza, playground and event space for year-round activities.
Standing just feet from where home plate will be, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said the city's 50 year relationship with the Chicago Cubs is now solid.
"We're looking forward to the day when our youth can enjoy this and we know that our community will enjoy this for years to come," Smith said. "What we are building is truly a community asset and that's fitting because unlike most others this has been a community effort."
The new stadium will be completed by Spring 2014. The City of Mesa has a 30-year agreement with the Cubs, with the option to extend it to 50 years.
Updated 7/11/2012 at 2:17 p.m.