Thomas Tunney is the alderman who has represented the Wrigleyville neighborhood’s interests for about 10 years, so, when he speaks on Wrigley Field renovations, there is considerable clout behind his words.

And, as he’s been saying for years, Tunney isn’t crazy about some of the renovation plans being bounced around. In particular, he doesn’t support the closing of streets around Wrigley Field for street fairs on game days.

“I’m not inflexible, but … I think the idea of regularly shutting them down would be a problem for the residents of my community,” Tunney said, according to the Tribune. And you can understand why: street fairs wouldn’t just theoretically annoy residents (I say theoretically because you don’t choose to live in Wrigleyville unless you’re into the atmosphere), they could relocate dollars from area businesses’ pockets to the Cubs’. I say that without a hint of cynism, mind you, because Tunney is simply representing his constituency.

In addition to opposing street closings, Tunney laid out a number of conditions he’d expect to be met before any renovation deal is put in place. From the Tribune:

Tunney’s email staked out his position on Wrigley improvements, including a host of conditions for any deal, including a 10-year extension of the city ordinance limiting night games and concerts at Wrigley, and a limit on Sheffield and Waveland Avenue closings.

The alderman also wants a dedicated police detail for Wrigley events, “especially postgame coverage,” and sidewalk, lighting and landscape improvements along Sheffield. Both could be part of any funding package, he said ….

Tunney also wrote in his email that the deal should include a commitment to refurbish the CTA Sheridan Red Line “L” station, an updated plan for the triangle building and plaza that would include space for “farmers markets and ice skating,” and a long-term agreement on signage between the Cubs and surrounding rooftop businesses.

“We’ll work out something,” Tunney said. “We’ve got to work with the Cubs, like we always have done. … I think we’ve done well as a community, and Wrigley Field has done pretty well too.”

Reasonable requests? Extra police, lighting improvements, a farmers market, and an ice skating rink make sense to me. Communities like that kind of stuff, and he’s representing the community. Refurbished “L” station? Sure, though the explicit connection is unclear to me (the Addison station is right next to Wrigley, and would seem to net the great increase in foot traffic). A long-term agreement on signage between the Cubs and the rooftop owners? Again, makes sense to me, so long as the agreement is beneficial both to the Cubs and the rooftop owners (disclosure: this site is sponsored in part by a rooftop owner).

One condition bothers me, though, and you know which one it is. The limitation on night games poses not only a strict financial burden on the Cubs (who likely would make more money with an increase in night games), but a continued physical burden on the players. The concert thing, too, has a financial component attached.

Let this serve as a reminder: when hundreds of millions of dollars and dozens of interested parties are involved, nothing is easy.

  • lancealot03

    Tunney is the alderman of my discrict and he seems to always have his best interest in mind. He votes against food trucks in Chicago because he says they will hurt local business (the real reason is he owns some Ann Sather restaurants and he is worred it will hurt HIS local business. He votes for Wal Marts to come to East Lakeview because he says it will create jobs (very low paying jobs, while driving out the local business he says he cares about). He has been against renevation of Wrigley Field from the get go as far as I have seen, or at least a large hurdle in it’s path. I am just of the opinion that anything he proposes for votes for/against has some sort of self interest in mind… then again that sounds like all politicions. He just won’t do anything unless it’s a “you scrach my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of deal.

  • aCubsFan

    Really…a farmers market, and an ice skating rink make sense to me?

    Why should the Cubs on their own property have to put in a farmers market or ice skating rink. Yes, they have done the ice skating rink the past few years, but to make it a mandatory thing to get permits for remodeling is absolutely ridiculous.

    It’s as ridiculous has having to appease to roof top owners who have for years stolen the Cubs product without fairly compensating them.

    Lancealot03 is absolutely right. Tunney is only looking out for his best interest, and much of his best interest is tied to the rooftop owners who have funnel tons of money into his campaign war chest.

    The residents of Wrigleyville know exactly what the lifestyle of the neighborhood is, that’s why they moved to the area. So, Tunney is disingenuous in his remarks.

    • Chris84

      Ice skating rink and farmers market = revenue for the Cubs. Not huge revenue, but revenue none the less. Plus makes them look better in the community.

    • Chris84

      Also, yes… Tunney sucks.

    • Beer Baron

      And the non-sense about closing streets is BS too. Waveland and Sheffield are already closed for every game as it is – pretty much have to be from a public safety standpoint. So if there were to be street fairs (or if the Cubs would do a “Yawkey Way” thing like they do at Fenway) it would not inconvenience local residents – except for the tavern owners who would lose revenue as fans would drink on the street, not in the bars. And that is where Tunney’s phoney concern stems from – not the people, but the bars that give him kick-backs would be losing money. Besides, anyone who moves to Wrigleyville does so knowing that games days are going to be challenging.

  • JulioZuleta

    I work for a real estate company that owns several buildings in his district and the shit this guy puts us through is hell.

  • Ivy Walls

    starting position(s), of course the Ricketts could seek to move out of the city as well.

  • Chris84

    Re: Sheridan stop on the Red Line.

    When I was living off of the Red Line, I actually preferred getting on and off at Sheridan than Addison, because it’s significantly less crazy and not that bad of a walk. Sheridan really does need to be updated though and rolling that into the Cubs improvement plan might make sense.

    Since moving back to the Blue Line, Irving Park bus is where it’s at.

  • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

    I know it may sound strange and conflicting, but you should try to put together a “Bleacher Nation Day” on your sponsor’s rooftop. If you’ve never been up on one, it’s great!. If the price is right, it is economical too…

    • Brett

      I’ve thought about inquiring about some kind of special (they’d get a whole of additional advertising, we’d have a good time, win/win), but the tricky part is the planning, since I’m not in Chicago.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Why the hesitation? The time for action is now. Why put off till tomorrow what could be done today? This needs to be done now! It needs to be set up for … next year when I don’t have a mortgage in two different towns.

  • Joe

    Good on you, Brett, for the rooftop sponsor disclosure.

    • Cubbie Blues

      It really was/is a classy move.

    • Brett

      Thanks, Joe. I have to be clear that I’ve got a gigantic conflict of interest when it comes to the rooftops. Just don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.

  • JB88

    Tunney’s an unabashed hypocrite. I lived in his district for over five years. While he claims that he is concerned about night games, the clubs on Halsted operate much later than any night game the Cubs ever hold, until well after 3 a.m., and do not present a family-friendly environment. While he has tried to push out some of the adult book stores that populated Halsted for years, there are tons of things that he spends absolutely zero attention on.

    If he is so concerned with the neighborhood, why the hell hasn’t he done something about the 24 hour liquor store at Sheffield and Belmont, where so much crime happens it isn’t funny. Tunney isn’t looking out for his constituents. He’s looking out for rooftop owners and small business owners who line his pocket at election time.

  • Ralph

    Turn wrigley into a homeless shelter and build a new stadium elewhere – how about them apples alderman?

  • BD

    I love Wrigley.

    But with all these different conditions coming up, and concerns about getting funding (when the Sox got funding) and not playing too many night games, etc. – I am becoming more open to the idea of building a brand new stadium somewhere else. I would hate to leave Wrigley (of course, bringing along some of the good parts), but the players need updated factilities and a more “regular” schedule. Otherwise the team is at a disadvantage.

    • Cubbie Blues

      There is plenty of land around here in Bloomington, IN. Heck I would even settle for Indy.

      • OlderStyle

        There is plenty of land, but the University owns most of it. I don’t think they’d welcome the team, though.

        I’m in Bton, too.

        • Cubbie Blues

          crying emoticonWatching a four minute dream fall down in flames.

          • OlderStyle

            Yeah, it would be something.
            On a related note I’ve thought about an MLB team coming to Indy making it that much easier to see the Cubs. But, as long as the Indians are around that will not happen. Seeing games at Victory Field is most excellent, though.

            • Cubbie Blues

              Victory Field is kind of cool. It’s been a while since I’ve been but we were talking about going tomorrow night.

      • Mrp

        Sounds good to me. Hell, I’d even settle for something in the Merrillville area.

        My point is that the Wrigleyville area needs the Cubs much more then the Cubs need it. Move the hell out and build a new stadium and the fans will still show up, especially if we end up being competitive year in and year out.

  • Dave

    It’s too bad the Cubs have to fight tooth and nail to make any changes. I wouldn’t blame Ricketts if he used the build a new stadium card like Reinsdorf did but I know it’s not realstic.

  • Mak

    Before we play the crying game for the Ricketts, lets acknowledge that he owns the most important piece of property in the neighborhood. Tunney knows this and has to exert some pressure on him to get anything accomplished.

    However, if you think for one second that Tunney is going to get all of this, get real. The Ricketts can steam roll him (see the tarp screen over bleacher issue) if he wants, but they’ll work together for the best outcome of the team and neighborhood. I expect the night game limit to be raised.

  • Brian

    The build a new stadium thing won’t work. The value of the land of Wrigley and the surrounding area would depreciate by loads and the Ricketts I doubt would be willing to take that kind of hit on their investment.
    Sounds to me like, when the parties hit the magic number to line the Aldermans pocket things will move along smoothly. What a sham, shame.

  • SouthSideCubFan21

    He is an idiot! Waveland & Sheffield is closed down during games anyway except to let buses carring big groups from out of town. So doing the street festivals wouldn’t be much different. By the way, I was at (yes of course the only loss to the braves) on Tuesday and did anyone see the throw from Dejesus to the plate when Heyward tagged up? It a strike to Soto. A little late, but a great arm!

    • JB88

      He’s not really an idiot. He knows that those streets are closed down every game. But a casual reader of the newspaper to which he is giving the interview might not know that and might think that Tunney is really looking out for the common man while the Cubs are just trying to screw him. Seriously, Cubs fans are a menace to the neighborhood. You don’t live in that neighborhood without having it affect you in some way (I lived a mile away and still caught Cubs fans pissing on my condo after a game). The point is that Tunney is playing politics. The question is who has more clout and who can land the better deal.

  • Cubs1967

    Tunney needs to go. Wrigley is the 3rd largest attraction in the state; and #1 in Wrigleyville (hence the name?)
    So; Wrigley is the straw that stirs the drink; time Tunney learn that. There are NO rooftops or at least 25% of the bars/restaurants if the Cubs suddenly moved to Lake county.
    And does he really think Ricketts family would disfigure the ball park??…..the ballpark and neighborhood is WHY the team draws 3M fans. not the zero championships.
    How stupid is this guy?

    and the nigth games must be increased to at least 50 OR Ricketts should tell them I’m moving!

  • Eric S

    How about moving the Cubs to the suburbs like the Bears thought about when they got the Soldier Field renovations. I would be all up for having the Cubs play in Elk Grove (the site of the Bears proposed new stadium at the time). It would give me all the more reason to move back! It won’t ever happen, but I can dream can’t I?

  • Cub Style

    This talk of moving has really made me sick to my stomach.

  • die hard

    there are lots of Cub fans north of the City and up to Madison Wi…putting a new park along train line in Deerfield or Highland park makes more sense…would draw away many fans from WI to make up for southsiders who go to games…if on the train line, makes up for loss of El….its doable…

  • Chris S

    Move ’em to Iowa!! We don’t have shit for professional sports here! I know a lot of you have been looking for a reason to experience Iowa.. okay, maybe not so much the last part.