Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Emanuel: Let's Get Wrigley Renovation Deal Done

Ricketts family is asking for an easing of certain restrictions on signs and night games

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Timing is everything, and during the heat of the 2012 president campaign, when Joe Ricketts was spending millions on an anti-Obama campaign, Mayor Rahm Emanuel wanted nothing to do with a Wrigley deal. Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013)

    Opening Day at Wrigley Field is roughly three months away, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday said it's time to get a deal done on a renovation project.

    "I asked all the parties involved to finish this up," the mayor said at an event to publicize tax preparation resources. "We all have a stake in getting it done. It is not done until all the parts fall in place. ... There are 1,200 jobs at stake in building and refurbishing Wrigley."

    The franchise, owned by the Ricketts' family, revealed last weekend a $300 renovation package that no longer includes a subsidy request.

    "The Cubs wanted $200 million in taxpayer dollars. I said, 'No,'" Emanuel said. "The good news is after 15 months they heard the word, 'No' and so we are at a point there will be no taxpayer subsidies for a private entity."

    Still, the family is asking for an easing of certain restrictions on signs and night games.

    "The Ricketts family has said that they just want to run their business," said family spokesman Dennis Culloton. "A 3:05 start on a Friday [afternoon] should not be considered a night game."

    Repairs on the park are currently ongoing to keep it up and running. The marquee on Wednesday announced a summer appearance by Pearl Jam.

    But questions remain. Rooftop owners continue to be concerned about the possibility of big signs blocking their ballpark views.

    "The biggest revenue opportunity in that list is the opportunity to put up signs," said Cullton.

    Additionally, Ald. Tom Tunney has concerns about parking.

    The Cubs hope to start the renovation as soon as the 2013 season ends. The project is expected to take five years.