The Arizona Diamondbacks could gain greater control of Chase Field if the ballpark is transferred from the Maricopa County Stadium District to the city of Phoenix, as the team looks at major renovations down the road.
The issue: the ballpark, funded with a special Maricopa County tax that expired in 1997, is controlled by the stadium district, which oversees ballpark improvements via a budget funded by the team, which pays $4 million annually for rent and capital expenses. The team wants to see ownership transfer to the city of Phoenix and basically take control of the ballpark, including responsibility for any upgrades. The team has already put together a laundry list of improvements -- a decreased capacity, upgraded concessions and concessions -- totaling $125 million; in addition, the team wants control over nongame events as part of a new lease. (The Diamondbacks are currently halfway through a 30-year lease.)
No one is talking about tax money used for the improvements, but the underlying message is that the team would prefer to work on these improvements directly instead of working through the stadium district.
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