Ballpark Boulevard extension adds new route to Camelback Ranch

Posted 2/22/20

Camelback Ranch  has a new road into the facility, as Ballpark Boulevard now extends to Maryland Avenue, creating a smoother commute to the park and better connecting the stadium to …

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Ballpark Boulevard extension adds new route to Camelback Ranch

Posted

Camelback Ranch  has a new road into the facility, as Ballpark Boulevard now extends to Maryland Avenue, creating a smoother commute to the park and better connecting the stadium to Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District.

Camelback Ranch draws the largest spring training crowds in the West Valley (8,442 per game in 2019) and the fourth-largest in the Valley. To accommodate those crowds, the team and the city of Glendale have created a new way for fans to get to and from the park.

Ballpark Boulevard used to dead-end at the north end of Camelback Ranch, creating only one way for cars to get in and out of the stadium’s parking lots. The road has now been extended 1.8 miles to connect with Maryland Avenue and Bethany Home Road to the north. The ballpark and Glendale city officials expect this to cut down on travel times into and out of the facility.

“It’ll be total game-changer when it comes to accessing the ballpark both before games and leaving games,” said Scott Carter, director of Marketing & Cooperate Partnerships for Camelback Ranch.

Scott Carter
Scott Carter

Glendale’s budget for the road extension was $10.7 million. Mattamy Homes, which is building a housing development north of Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, contributed $850,000 and each of the teams Camelback Ranch hosts, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, each kicked in $150,000.

In addition to helping travel times, the new road extension will also better connect Camelback Ranch to the rest of Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District to the northeast, which includes Westgate Entertainment District, Tanger Outlets, State Farm Stadium and Gila River Arena.

Mr. Carter said the park will be “encouraging fans to take that route to get them back into the Westgate area to spend some time after games in Glendale, whether that’s dinner or shopping or attractions.”

At the opening of the Ballpark Boulevard extension, Mayor Jerry Weiers said he was glad the road will send fans back toward Glendale, instead of, in some cases, forcing them to detour west before reconnecting with Loop 101.

Jerry Weiers
Jerry Weiers

Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who represents the Yucca District, which contains the Sports and Entertainment District, was also happy to see consumers head back toward Glendale.

“It’s yet another economic catalyst welcoming all to live, work and play in Glendale,” she said.

Joyce Clark
Joyce Clark

Glendale city officials also hope the road extension will create a new development corridor for businesses to begin building along the Ballpark Boulevard extension, aiming to capitalize on travelers between Camelback Ranch and the Westgate area.

“When the Loop 101 opened, all of a sudden the Westgate area exploded. And look at it today,” Ms. Clark said. “Well, opening what seems like a rather insignificant road does exactly the same thing.”

The ball is already rolling on development in the area, according to Ms. Clark. She said several landowners of the 400 acres surrounding the new road have come together to form a group called Vision 4 to make a comprehensive plan for the land’s development.

“It would not surprise me at all to see this all developed, or mostly developed by the time the Super Bowl comes (in February 2023). It will come, and it’s coming fast,” Ms. Clark said.

There will be a small addition inside the facility. Camelback Ranch includes a statue of a baseball for each Dodgers MVP winner, featuring the name of the player, their signature and the year they won the award. A new ball is being added this spring for Dodgers outfielder and first baseman Cody Bellinger, who won the National League MVP for the 2019 season.

A baseball statue at Camelback Ranch commemorates starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw's National League MVP award from 2014. [Submitted photo]
A baseball statue at Camelback Ranch commemorates starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw's National League MVP award from 2014. [Submitted photo]

Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger chases a fly ball in front of right fielder Mookie Bettsl, right, during spring training baseball Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger chases a fly ball in front of right fielder Mookie Bettsl, right, during spring training baseball …

Mr. Carter wanted to remind fans that the facility opens at 9 a.m. each day during spring training and morning practices are open for public viewing. These practices are usually the best chance to meet players and get autographs or photos. Mr. Carter said he believes Camelback Ranch’s practice field environment is what most sets it apart from other spring training facilities.

“It’s the largest facility by acreage in the Cactus League. So, at 140 acres, there’s a lot to explore,” Mr. Carter said. “If you’re back in our practice fields, it feels more like a park than it does a baseball facility, with a five-acre lake and walking trails and citrus groves. It’s a really awesome place to come take in practice and it feels like you’re in a little mini oasis.”

The facility has had major changes in the last few years, with a new video board and first base-side shade canopies being added in 2018 and in-stadium public WiFi last year.

Mr. Carter said the biggest complaints about the ballpark had long been the lack of shade from the stands and travel times in and out of the parking lots.

“We like to think that we’ve taken some major steps in addressing those with, one, the shade structures that we put in a few years ago and with now the extension of Ballpark Boulevard, hopefully we can make a major dent in getting people in and out of here much faster,” he said.

The White Sox mascot Southpaw will visit Camelback Ranch for three days in March and the Budweiser Clydesdales will visit on St. Patrick’s Day, Tuesday, March 17.

New special visits will include guest appearances by each team’s organist. Dodgers organist Dieter Ruehle will play the pipes for a game Wednesday, March 4 against the San Francisco Giants and the Nancy Faust, who played the organ for the White Sox from 1970-2010, will play during a game against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, March 13.

Glendale residents can purchase Glendale Resident Pass tickets for $5 for any game Sunday through Thursday, with a few exceptions. Visit mlb.com/camelback-ranch/tickets/glendale-resident-pass .

Mark Carlisle can be reached at mcarlisle@newszap.com or found on Twitter @mwcarlisle.

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