SBD/May 8, 2012/Facilities

Chicago City Officials Disagree On Plans For Area Surrounding Wrigley Field

Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney yesterday “declared his opposition to key elements of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to help the Cubs wring $150 million more in advertising and sponsorship revenues out of Wrigley Field and surrounding streets to minimize any taxpayer contribution toward renovating the 98-year-old stadium,” according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Tunney said that he is “dead-set against any additional signage that blocks the view of the rooftop clubs overlooking Wrigley that share 17 percent of their revenues with the team.” Tunney: “The rooftops and the owners of Wrigley have a unique partnership. They want to be protected long-term. They have a lot invested. The city has asked them to spend millions to keep their buildings safe. We’ve got to find ways they can both stay in business.” Tunney said that he is also “equally opposed” to the Cubs’ plan to close the streets surrounding Wrigley on game days for “money-making street fairs that duplicate the festival atmosphere around Boston’s Fenway Park.” He said, “How would you like your street to be shut down 80 days a year. Yes, you knew you bought near the park. But, the streets belong to the people.” Spielman notes Tunney also mentioned the Cubs’ “revised plan to build a long-stalled triangle building adjacent to Wrigley promised, but never delivered to residents in exchange for a bleacher expansion.” Tunney said, “They’ve come up with a plan that’s more of an open-air plaza. That is probably the most appropriate place for them to do their Yawkey Way: on their own property” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/8). In Chicago, Anthony Ponce reports Tunney “sent a letter to Wrigleyville area residents Monday, notifying them no agreement has been reached” between the city and the Cubs. The letter read in part, “If the Ricketts family wishes to improve and expand Wrigley Field using amusement tax dollars, I have several priorities that should be addressed.” Ponce notes those points include “a limit to the number of night games, dedicated police for all Wrigley Field events, a limit on street closures, a long-term agreement between the Cubs and rooftop owners, and a commitment to restore the Sheridan stop on the CTA Red Line” (NBCCHICAGO.com, 5/8).
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