Some hotels say Phoenix’s parks policy is costing them business

Published: Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 1:56pm
Updated: Friday, October 8, 2021 - 9:12am

Nineteen months into the pandemic, Phoenix is the only Arizona city that does not allow out-of-state teams to play at city-owned sports facilities. During Wednesday’s council meeting, some people said it’s time to change.

“The toll this has taken on all the hotels along the I-17 corridor is devastating,” said Ron Lindbland, general manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix North.

His hotel is located at Interstate 17 and Peoria Avenue, just across from the city-owned Rose Mofford Sports Complex.

“It does not make sense that our indoor convention center is open, our indoor arenas are open, but outdoor parks and recreation is not open for out-of-state guests,” Lindbland said. “The guests are coming here to the state anyways, they’re just going to other cities now.”

Lindbland said cancellations from out-of-state teams between May 2021 and January 2022 have cost the hotel $420,030.

“The city lost out on $52,797 in tax revenue from these cancellations at my hotel alone,” he said. “Most of these cancellations have moved to the state of the art Mesa Sports Complex. In the long run, it will be harder for us to move them back to the I-17 corridor if we do not open the fields as soon as possible.”

"In the long run, it will be harder for us to move them back to the I-17 corridor if we do not open the fields as soon as possible."
— Ron Lindbland, DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix North

Councilwoman Ann O’Brien made a motion to “reopen our parks to out of state tournaments for sports teams with kids aged 12 and older participating and then a week after the FDA approves the COVID-19 vaccination for kids aged 5 to 11 that we fully reopen our parks to all out of state tournaments.”

Councilmen Jim Waring and Sal DiCiccio supported O’Brien’s motion but Councilwoman Betty Guardado made a substitute motion for staff to seek expert health guidance and return to the council with more information on Oct. 27.

“I do want to reopen, but I think we need to do it in the most responsible way possible,” Guardado said.

"I do want to reopen, but I think we need to do it in the most responsible way possible."
— Councilwoman Betty Guardado

Councilmembers Laura Pastor, Carlos Garcia and Yassamin Ansari, and Mayor Kate Gallego voted in favor of Guardado’s motion.

O’Brien said her motion to reopen city facilities to out-of-state teams was about being consistent in regulations across Phoenix.

“Since June, our indoor Convention Center has held four national events for youth’s sports and competitions,” she said “Just last week, our Maryvale Baseball Stadium hosted two international baseball teams, filling the stands with people of all ages.”

More than a year ago, Phoenix reopened city-owned athletic fields to local players following CDC guidelines.

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