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