1/23 Mayor reacts to Wrigley plan

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel supports the Cubs’ efforts to pay for renovations to Wrigley Field. During a news conference at Harold Washington College Wednesday, Emanuel was asked about the proposal, unveiled at the Cubs Convention.

“When I first started this discussion, the Cubs wanted $200 million in taxpayer dollars,” Emanuel told reporters. “I said, ‘No.’ Then they said, ‘We’d like $150 million taxpayer dollars,’ and I said, ‘No.’ Then they asked if they could have $100 million in taxpayer subsidies, and I said, ‘No.’ Then, they asked about $55 million in taxpayer subsidies. I said, ‘No.’ The good news is after 15 months, they’ve heard the word, ‘No.’

“So, we’re at a point where there will be no taxpayer subsidies for a private entity,” Emanuel said. “That said, Wrigley is important to the neighborhood and to the city — or at least a part of the city that likes to go there — and I want to ensure that it continues that kind of important role that it plays in the North Side, which is why I’m also pleased that they’re also putting a hotel up. So, I asked all the parties involved to finish this up.”

Will the city give the Cubs the go ahead to do what they want? Emanuel would only say: “We all have a stake in getting it done. It is not done until all the parts fall in place. There are other things that are necessary to do that. There are 1,200 jobs at stake in buliding and refurbishing Wrigley. But, I want to be clear, I said from the beginning and now it’s absolutely clear and underscored — there will be no taxpayer subsidy in the refurbishing of Wrigley. But, all the parties have a role to play to see it through to the end, and I intent to help do that.”

The Cubs are willing to pay $300 million in renovation plans, to be done over five offseasons, but want the city to let the team add more advertising signage, have more night games, and be able to close off Sheffield avenue on weekends.

– Carrie Muskat

8 Comments

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Sounds like Rahm has given the typical Sox fan response. The comment he makes about ” Wrigley is important to the neighborhood and to the city —or at least a part of the city that likes to go there”…. People who aren’t even Cubs or baseball fans go to Wrigey as part of their vactions. So, what he really means is “We (the city) won’t give you any money, but we will gladly enjoy taking in your tourist dollars”!

sounds more to me like Rahm doesn’t think that people who are NOT Cubs fans should have to have their tax dollars go to Wrigley renovations. And I fully agree. Though something about the top 1% asking for government handouts doesn’t surprise me. I’m sorry did I say handout? I meant entitlement.

The Mayor could have said that since the owners of the Cubs have offered to pay for the cost of renovation of Wrigley Field, he would encourage the City’s Landmarks Commission, the Buiding Department, the Alderman and the City Council to ease otherwise applicable restrictions governing what is dedicated an “historic landmark” so that the work can be done. But he did not even do that. It is fascinating that “…Chicagoans who are not CUBS fans” and who presumably are WHITE SOX fans apparently have no problem with the taxpayers of Illinois being obligated to pay for the management and operation of U.S. Cellular Field.

Sounds like a comprimise should be reached. The Chicago way…. A PRICE for the relaxation of “landmark status” etc. will be $300 million and a hotel. The power of this City is limitless. Let’s hope the mayor keeps the same stance when ANY private company asks us tax payers to foot the bill…unless of course it suits SOMEBODY’S agenda more so than the Northsider’s ball park…

I think that Mayor Rahm Emanuel was even less commital about the proposed improvements to Wrigley Field than the comments suggest. Yes, he is pleased that the Ricketts family is prepared to privately foot the entire bill for the cost of the improvements to be made, estimated at $300 million. But he made no statement about easing restrictions on construction modifications to what is essentially a historic landmark structure covering every single brick, blade of grass and ivy leaf in the entire building. It sounds as if he is willing to let the neighborhood, Alderman Tunney, the Landmarks Commission, etc. all have their hands in (or out) this process. When neighborhood groups (including the rooftop owners across the street from Wrigley Field) finish telling the Cubs what THEY want, the project will surely cost the Cubs far more than $300 million. Sadly, that’s part of the Chicago way too!!

Pingback: What 'No' to the Cubs Might Mean for Sports Subsidies in Chicago | Chicago Sport and SocietyChicago Sport and Society

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