[Source: Mike Padgett, Phoenix Business Journal] — Chase Field turns 10 years old at the end of this month, and supporters say the baseball park is a hit in the redevelopment of downtown Phoenix. Chase Field and the neighboring US Airways Center are considered MVPs in the total economic picture, attracting more than $3 billion in new construction and redevelopment downtown. US Airways Center opened in 1992 as America West Arena. Chase Field debuted March 31, 1998, as Bank One Ballpark. Both openings cranked up the rate of downtown redevelopment, according to Phoenix Suns Chairman Jerry Colangelo. “The reasons for them being built, and the impact they’ve had on our downtown, were immense,” he says.
Dressed in a dark blue pin-striped suit and a yellow tie, Colangelo watches from the center-field concourse as singers audition on the field for the chance to belt out the National Anthem at upcoming games. “It was all part of a rebirth in building a new Phoenix,” he says. Both sports venues were built for teams headed by Colangelo. He was approached in 1994 to lead the charge for a Major League Baseball team for Phoenix, and the Arizona Diamondbacks debuted in 1998.
Critics of publicly financed sports facilities still have their doubts. Arizona Tax Research Association President Kevin McCarthy opposed the special county sales tax that paid for the ballpark. He also questions whether sports venues create new money. “More often than not, you’re moving money around in the system that’s already there,” McCarthy says. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]