Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has staunchly opposed the use of any state funds to help renovation Wrigley Field from thing one. Most recently, he engaged in a political battle with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel over an appointee to run the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, and accused Emanuel of opposing his preferred appointee because Emanuel wanted to use the ISFA to help fund Wrigley renovations. Emanuel denied the charge, but continued to oppose the appointment of Kelly Kraft, Quinn’s former budget director.
Well, Quinn just got his way, as the ISFA board of directors confirmed Kraft yesterday, 4-3.
With Quinn’s handpicked choice at the helm, you can be assured that the ISFA will not be involved in assisting the Cubs to renovate Wrigley Field any time soon. That seemed like a long-shot, anyway, given Quinn’s opposition to the use of state funds. (Obligatory, casual mention of the fact that the ISFA built U.S. Cellular Field for the White Sox.) (Oh, hell, I’ll go further and just quote the opening screen on the ISFA’s web site:
Welcome to the new Web site of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA), the developer, owner and operator of U.S. Cellular Field, home of the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox.
ISFA was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1987 for the purpose of building the New Comiskey Park, known since 2003 as U.S. Cellular Field. Since its opening season in 1991, this baseball stadium has undergone extensive renovation and improvement, all under the management of ISFA. We continue to maintain and repair the stadium, along with our nearly 80 acres of surrounding property, to the highest standards.
Yup. Just sayin’.)
Hopefully Emanuel remains committed to working with the Cubs to renovate Wrigley Field, whether by way of the use of public funds (a portion of the amusement tax collected on top of Cubs tickets) or by easing restrictions surrounding the use of, and advertising at, Wrigley Field. It still seems to me like the best option is a combination of both.
Team President Theo Epstein just last night reminded season ticket holders that a proper renovation at Wrigley Field is important to the future competitiveness of the team, both by way of revenue that helps the on-field product, and by way of improved player facilities.