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March 5, 2012 at 4:40 PM

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Twenty-year extension brings smiles all around

Take 2's Jon Kingston attended a special announcement made at second base at Peoria Stadium Monday morning, and has the news from that announcement below. 

Since 1994 the Mariners and Padres have been neighbors in Peoria, Ariz., at the Peoria Sports Complex, and thanks to an agreement between the the city and the teams, that's how it'll remain for the foreseeable future.

The Mariners, Padres and the city of Peoria have agreed to a 20-year extension that includes $48 million in clubhouse and stadium upgrades.

EH50 Stadium.jpg

Peoria Stadium on Monday (Photo by Emily Hopwood for the Seattle Times). 

In 1994, Peoria Sports Complex became the first two-team spring facility in baseball. With teams changing venues seemingly year in and year out around the majors, keeping both teams in Peoria for the next 20 years was a victory for both the city and the two respective fan bases.

"It is really an important day today for the city of Peoria," Mayor Bob Barrett said. "We have had a partnership with these two teams for years and I'm proud to say we're going to continue that relationship into the future.

"It's an economic generator and this extension is for 20 years. We found a way to do this and make it fiscally responsible for all of us."

The complex has provided a huge economic boost for the city and has really become a focal point for the town. With all the restaurants surrounding the stadium and the money brought in from fans coming from Seattle, San Diego, and elsewhere around the country, it was a must for the city to keep both teams.

The benefit for both the Mariners and Padres is obvious as well. While neither stadium is on the low end when compared to the others around the Cactus League, with the amount of money generated by the teams being there it makes sense for them to receive some benefit from that.

There will be an initial total of $30 million spent on remodeling the respective clubhouses, and another $6 million to upgrade the stadium, including a party deck and enhanced seating.

Needless to say, all parties involved have come a long way since 1993.

"We came down here and standing right here you could do a 360 and the only thing you could see was that microwave tower and a broken down Milwaukee Brewers old minor league complex with a couple of diamonds that weren't in very good shape," Mariners president and chief operating officer Chuck Armstrong said. "And the rest was scrub desert, orange groves, and cotton fields.

"On behalf of the Mariners we'd like to thank the city of Peoria and the San Diego Padres, our roommates here. Major League Baseball has made us natural rivals, but over the years we've been natural buddies."

Looks like you'll be hearing "Play Ball!" in Peoria for quite some time, and don't expect to hear much complaining.

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