What’s New with Cactus Yards?
Gilbert Cactus Yards takes pride in sporting eight fields for baseball with each field as a scaled-down imitation of the real Major League Baseball Parks to the likes of Yankee Stadium, Chase Field and Wrigley Field. The park showcases batting cages, playground and soccer arena. Cactus Yards is conveniently located at 4536 E. Elliot Road, Gilbert Arizona.
The Cactus Yards, formerly known as Big League Dreams, closed down for 19 months in 2017 after the town found the site unsafe for both viewers and players. After a $15.4 Million budget for renovations, the park reopened on February 9 and gathered 100 teams from all over the world, to as far as Alaska, to take part on the President’s Day Baseball Tournament. The event enticed some 10,000 baseball fans according to the park management.
Mr. Robert Carmona, the park’s recreation Director, excitedly announced that Gilbert Cactus Yards could become the center for community gathering and a place for the youth and adults to hone their skills in sports within the nation.
Extensive renovations were made to upgrade the park and to make it compliant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.
The contractors removed areas with dangerous portions such as cracked paths and tripping hazards. They also repainted the grandstands and upgraded the spectator’s chairs. The drainage system was greatly improved, pathways were re-cemented and repainted.
Most fields went through major changes to further enhance the park’s image as a nationally renowned baseball grounds. The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation modernized the scoreboard at the Chase Field replica ballpark.
Craft Culinary Concepts, a subsidiary of the Arizona Cardinals, opened two modern restaurants overlooking the baseball fields along with other franchise businesses inside the soccer stadium. The restaurants offer a classic menu of ballpark fare including pizza, world-renowned pretzels, nachos, dirty fries, and the classic hot dogs.
Costs and Fees
The public is free during weekdays but with a minimal $5 gate fee during the weekend especially during private promoter-run games. Residents living in Gilbert have free access to the park including weekends. Batting cages chard $1 for 20 pitches.
If you want to conduct a soccer league, you must book the arena in advance. Most dates of the current year have already been booked according to the park management.
In 2008, Cactus Yards opened as Big League Dreams but met numerous problems. In 2013, the management spent $42.7 Million to launch the facility but the town prosecuted the builder, MA Mortenson, for defective construction. The construction company settled with the town for $13.5 million. The town used the settlement fund to pay for the $15.4 Million costs of renovation.
The town closed the facility in 2017 believing that the Big League Dreams Gilbert, the private company entrusted to manage the facility had not maintained the arenas properly. The town and the previous operator continue to battle in court at present.
Despite the many disputes, the town started to operate the stadium and renamed it Cactus Yards estimating its yearly loss of about $1.1Million. Community leaders hesitated at the costs while others agree that the park is a necessary community amenity.
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