Chicago Pol Looks To Loosen Restrictions At Wrigley Field Plaza
Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney has "proposed extending the life of the open-air plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field and said he's willing to relax the hard-fought rules to allow the sale of hard liquor on the plaza," according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Those "hard-fought rules" governing Gallagher Way plaza operations were put in place as a "three-year experiment" that expires Nov. 30. Tunney yesterday introduced an ordinance to "extend those rules until March 29, giving him time to negotiate new rules going forward that ... will open the door to the sale of hard liquor as well as beer and wine." Tunney said, "Instead of just beer, distilled (liquor). They want Jim Beam. They have corporate sponsors. That's fine. We're gonna relax it a little bit." Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that she "hopes to broker a compromise that would loosen the reins just a bit and give the Cubs more freedom to use the plaza." Meanwhile, Tunney "drew the line on additional concerts on the plaza, arguing the real problem is 'amplified sound,'" and Wrigleyville residents "already have their hands and ears full with '100 activities inside the ballpark'" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/21).
HIGH EXPECTATIONS: In Chicago, John Byrne writes Tunney had "nice things to say" about how the plaza is currently operating. Tunney: "The plaza is a real asset to the community. ... We want to keep the ordinance pretty much intact for the next number of years." Questions emerged over whether liquor sales would exacerbate the "notoriously hard-partying neighborhood." Tunney responded, "What's the difference? We're going to have cannabis coming soon too. Some in the neighborhood say it's better than the drunks on the streets sometimes" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/21).