A long-simmering dispute between the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team and Maricopa County regarding the maintenance and upgrading of the Chase Field stadium may be on the verge of a resolution.
For several years the team, which plays in the National League West division, has been complaining about an assessment indicating that the 20 year-old stadium in downtown Phoenix is in need of around $187 million in improvements.
The Diamondbacks have been particularly put off by facility issues relating to a faulty air conditioning system, as well as broken water pipes and other infrastructure matters.
But Maricopa County officials have insisted that such repairs are the responsibility of the team. A possible break in the impasse was almost achieved two years ago when outside investors proposed a purchase of the stadium with an eye to tearing it down and building a new one.
The Diamondbacks walked away from that offer after charging that those investors had failed to provide needed in-depth financial information regarding the possible purchase.
Last summer, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins ordered both the county and the team to enter into private mediation as a means of settling the stadium dispute.
Now, after roughly 5 months of that mediation, representatives for both the Diamondbacks and Maricopa County have asked to be able to continue talks until mid-February, offering the hope that such discussions may be going somewhere.
If a settlement between the parties is reached, the deal would still have to win the approval of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
The Chase Field stadium was built at a cost of $238 million and opened in the spring of 1998. It has been the home to the Diamondbacks since the team was launched in that same year.
By Garry Boulard
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