Theme: Robust External Partnerships
Phoenix flipped the paradigm of pro sports partnerships in Arizona by securing a massive private investment from a professional sports team to fund renovations of a city park located in a community that could substantially benefit from revitalization. The project entailed a major Spring Training baseball stadium renovation, enhanced shade and landscaping, and additional community benefit – all in a city park. Surrounded by municipalities that invested heavily in sports facilities for the resulting economic development and community activation in suburban locations, Phoenix bucked a national trend.
Faced with aging public infrastructure, limited government resources, a professional sports team with an option to relocate, and a part of town that has not seen significant investment in a long time, the city of Phoenix was staring down a variety of serious challenges. The same community also has concerns ranging from enhancing water safety to boosting student achievement. Could all of these community concerns be addressed through a single innovation without raising taxes or making sacrifices elsewhere?
The answer for Phoenix was, “Yes.” The city leveraged its partnerships to deliver long-term benefit to the inner city without abandoning a sports facility from the 1990s – a national trend. Beyond the economic and recreational benefits of pro sports, Phoenix also maintained flood control infrastructure, negotiated a quarter-century commitment to children’s water safety, and partnered for an on-site tutoring program for students in a diverse part of town where residents speak more than 50 languages. All of this was accomplished with a substantial reduction in the city’s financial obligations.
The partnership in Phoenix’s Maryvale community is a win-win for the city, local students and families, as well as for a pro sports partner, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Milwaukee Brewers, who have held Spring Training in Phoenix since 1998.