SBD/April 17, 2012/Facilities

Emanuel's "Fenway Plan" For Wrigley Field Renovation Could Be Tough Sell For Residents

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "Fenway Plan" to generate as much as $150M for a Wrigley Field renovation "could be a tough sell for residents in the surrounding neighborhood," according to Stefano Esposito of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Sources said that among the ideas being considered is a Jumbotron "in right field, more concerts and football games at Wrigley as well as surrounding street closings on game days to make way for money-making street fairs." Joe Spagnoli, who owns Yak-Zies Bar & Grill near Wrigley Field said that the Cubs "should be able to do whatever they want 'inside their four walls.'" However, he is concerned that "street fairs would cut into his business and be a nightmare for area residents." But Esposito notes some local business owners indicated that the Cubs "should be free to do whatever they need to do to make money and stay competitive" with other MLB teams (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/17). The Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh said, “When you generate revenue from signage, advertising, whatever it is, you impose on the tradition, but you also create sources of money that the city benefits from as well. I think that always the opposition has been on what you cannot do in Wrigleyville. I think what this administration seems to be doing more of, maybe at the Cubs' behest, but seem to be looking at the opposite way: What can you do, rather than what you can't do.” The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc: “Do whatever you have to, but keep it tasteful. … If you have to shutdown Waveland and Sheffield, making it an area that you can bring fans down, have a good time before and after the game. Get more restaurants, more revenue there and maybe put some of the money back into the ballclub into the payroll” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 4/16).
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