Cactus Yards to open at Elliot District Park on Feb. 9

The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation will refurbish a scoreboard at its replica field at Cactus Yards to be like this rendering.

The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation will refurbish a scoreboard at its replica field at Cactus Yards to be like this rendering.

Elliot District Park’s fields facility will open Feb. 9 under the name Cactus Yards, the town announced Monday.

The Town Council unanimously approved the rebranding among other actions at its most recent meeting Oct. 18. The reopening date came in press release issued by the town Monday. The release also indicated the town would have opening day festivities that day.

“We are excited to not only reopen this facility in 2019 but to be able to give it a new look and name,” Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said in the release. “We’ve worked hard to ensure that this facility is in premier condition and that we get the right partners on board so that Cactus Yards is a place where Gilbert residents can proudly play and visitors from all over can enjoy.”

Partners


The council approved contracts with two key partners: the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation for a scoreboard renovation and Craft Culinary Concepts to be the restaurant vendor at the site.

The facility features eight ball fields, two restaurants, an indoor soccer facility, batting cages and a playground.

The Diamondbacks agreed to refurbish the scoreboard at the field’s Chase Field replica field.

“Young athletes from around the state will come to Cactus Yards, and when they look around the field, they will share the same pride that their favorite D-backs players have while representing their hometown team,” Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said in the release.

Craft Culinary Concepts is looking to incorporate the Cactus Yards theme into the restaurants’ concepts, interim Parks and Recreation Director Robert Carmona said last week. Craft also works with the Arizona Cardinals, the Fiesta Bowl, the Rose Bowl and the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction.

A public park


Big League Dreams USA, which runs 10 other similar sports parks in California, Texas and Las Vegas, once privately ran the facility.

It closed in July 2017 because of the town’s safety concerns about crumbling concrete and unstable outfield walls. The town then voted to terminate Big League Dreams’ contract in October 2017.

The town plans to run the facility as a public park, Carmona said, but it wants to compete to host private tournaments, just as Big League Dreams and other municipalities do. The Gilbert Parks and Recreation Department is booking tournaments for 2019 and will begin league registration in December, according to the release.

The rebranding is part of an effort to give the park a new look and feel, Carmona said. Officials engaged with a marketing group in the effort.

The Gilbert Town Council approved these logos Oct. 18 as part of the rebranding effort of Elliot District Park's ball fields facility into Cactus Yards.[/caption]

“As we were bouncing around names and logos and colors, we really liked the idea of Cactus Yards,” Carmona said. “I think we all know the Cactus League [Major League Baseball spring training] is a very important Arizona stronghold based on the area. Then using the yards concept, a popular baseball term whether it’s used for a park or home runs. We all liked the way it felt to say, ‘Cactus Yards.'”

The name, logo and color scheme will be prominent throughout the park, Carmona said.

The council also approved installation of artificial turf in the indoor soccer pavilion and in areas between the ball fields and to increase a contract amount with Shade ‘N Net by $200,528.20 to allow for safety netting and shade structures.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1FT_d-OLIMerbu98tA4exVr3EHDQNaidF&usp=sharing
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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