Cards Deal Payson Out, Draw Prescott

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For a day Payson was in the running to host the Arizona Cardinals preseason training camp.

Most of July 24 -- the day the Cardinals decided to move their training camp from Flagstaff due to illnesses on the Northern Arizona University campus -- Payson Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind negotiated with team officials about the possibility of holding training camp at Rumsey Park.

According to Schwind, the Cardinals eventually passed on Payson and chose Prescott, mostly because the city has dormitories and dining-meeting facilities on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The Cardinals' decision to go to Prescott, however, doesn't mean Payson will not be in the running to host the camp in future years.

According to Schwind, if the funding is found to build two more artificial surface fields, similar to the ones now at Rumsey Park, those facilities could attract the Cards' interest.

With those fields intact, the lone remaining challenge for Payson would be to find housing and dining facilities for the 100-plus players and the coaching staff.

Schwind said he thinks Cardinal brass would like to move the training camps around Arizona's high country to attract statewide team support.

The Cardinals' contract with NAU to host training camp ends this year and team officials will be scouring the state looking for sites.

The Cardinals paid NAU about $400,000 a year to use its facilities and the training camp made a $2 million annual economic impact in Flagstaff.

Schwind predicts if Payson could attract the Cardinals, it would be a tremendous boost for the Rim Country's economy.

The Cardinals opted to not hold training camp at NAU -- as the team has done since first moving to Arizona --ue to an outbreak of what is believed to be norovirus. It affected about 100 persons on campus including teens attending summer sports camps.

Norovirus is highly contagious and can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps.

With the move from Flagstaff, the Card players will now report July 31 to the Prescott training camp and stay in Embry-Riddle dormitories until Aug. 11.

After a preseason game against Dallas Aug. 13, the team will return to Prescott and be housed at the Quality Inn.

The team will practice on Embry Riddle's athletic fields and at Keebler Field, Pioneer Park and Ken Lindley Field.

The practices will continue to be open to the public as they were in Flagstaff.

Because practice times and sites could change frequently, fans traveling to Prescott should call the Cardinals' hot line at (520) 523-2273 or (602) 370-1714 for practice information.

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