City Council Passes Plan to Add More Night Games at Wrigley

City Council passes plan to allow 40 night games per year

A plan to add more night games to Wrigley Field passed the City Council Wednesday.

The plan, which passed the council’s finance committee Tuesday, would allow at least 40 night games per year for the Chicago Cubs.

Officials say 35 will be scheduled and five will be held in reserve in the event Major League Baseball requires the Cubs to play night games. The plan exempts playoff games and the all-star games.

The plan passed the council without debate, despite concerns from the Chicago Cubs and area residents.

The Cubs said they were unhappy with the deal requiring them to pay for security and sanitation costs tied to more than 40 night games per season and forfeit a night game after any season that includes "more than four non-baseball events," including concerts or college football games, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jill Peters of the Southport Neighborhood Association says too many night events place "too much of a burden" on the area and erode the quality of life.

"They create crime issues, there's property damage, late-night drinking," Peters said. "It has an impact on our theatre, our restaurants, our retail."

Dave Jennings, the general manager at Music Box Theatre, says night games cost them half of their business because of the parking situation.

"About 20 percent of our customers come from outside of Chicago, so public transit is not really an option," Jennings says.

Local bars, however, say their happy with more night games.

"We love it," said Lesley Fitzgerald of Cullins Bar. "It's nothing but an increase in business as far as I can see. We get a lot of the foot traffic."

The Cubs and city of Chicago announced a “framework” in April that would make over the historic North Side baseball stadium.

The proposal included more night games, a video screen, an overhauled parking plan, a new hotel and neighborhood entertainment.

Ricketts said the changes will help close the gap between the state of the Chicago stadium and other newer parks "all while preserving the best of Wrigley Field."

In an exclusive interview with NBC 5, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he thinks the plan strikes the right balance for the neighborhood and the field.

"The goal was to allow investments that improve both Wrigley Field as well as Wrigleyville, and I think we got the right balance there," Emanuel said.

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