SBD/March 24, 2011/Facilities

Ricketts Still Pushing For Public Funds To Help Pay For Wrigley Makeover

Ricketts meeting with public officials on Wrigley Field renovations
Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts said that he is "going to keep pitching his proposal" to rebuild Wrigley Field "with a combination of private and public funds," according to Greg Hinz of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. Ricketts yesterday "lifted the veil a bit on what's next after bloody battles over increased signage at Wrigley, rebuilding the stadium with revenues from city ticket taxes and, most recently, closing Sheffield Avenue during much of the summer for a Boston Red Sox-like street festival." Ricketts said that "threatening to move the team elsewhere ... is off the table," as is the idea of PSLs. Instead, his "chosen tactic is more, mostly quiet talks with public officials," particularly Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel. Sources indicated that Ricketts and Emanuel "had a 10-minute sitdown a few weeks ago in which Mr. Ricketts made a presentation and Mr. Emanuel listened." Ricketts said, "He understands." In order to raise money for Wrigley renovations, Ricketts "still seems to emphasize the ticket tax idea that he floated last year, arguing that it would preserve and expand the 'economic magnet' that Wrigley is for Chicago." Ricketts said that he is "prepared for a long war of schmoozing, stroking and negotiating with both neighborhood and public officials." He added, "We're very much committed to the preservation of Wrigley Field. That's a long process, and it is a process. It is going to take awhile to get it done" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 3/23).
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