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1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWWhile we wait on more information regarding the Chicago Cubs’ talks with the rooftop owners, it sounds like the Cubs are taking the same “parallel fronts” attitude to funding the renovation as they’ve taken to roster building. That is to say, the advertising signage issue that involves the rooftops is only one aspect of the Cubs’ funding plans for the renovation. Another is the ability to have more night games, more concerts, and street fairs.

And, for the most part, that means convincing the community that such things will not ruin their neighborhood (insert comment about knowing that you’re living next to Wrigley Field and gladly accepting the benefits thereof, while simultaneously complaining about the inconveniences).

Yesterday, the same day that management was meeting with the rooftops, Alderman Tom Tunney – who represents the 44th Ward, in which Wrigley Field sits – discussed a plan involving those issues, floated to him by the Cubs. According to a report from DNAinfo, Tunney disclosed that plan at Monday’s Southport Neighbors Association meeting at the Mercury Theatre, which was also attended by Cubs VP of Community Affairs Mike Lufrano. It would appear that the Cubs and Tunney are working together on this, but you can never be quite sure.

So, what is the plan?

In short, the Cubs are requesting an extremely modest near-term increase in permitted night games, from the currently-allowed 30, to a still-small 33. The Cubs would also like to increase the number of permitted concerts from three to four, and would like to be permitted to conduct street fairs on Sheffield Avenue, which is already closed on game days. At the meeting, Tunney indicated that he comes into the picture because the Cubs would like him to introduce an ordinance at the February 13 City Council meeting which would increase the night games to 33 and the concerts to four, among other things. (The street fair issue, Tunney indicated, could take longer to formally take shape, because there are a number of issues to work out.)

The response – by that particular neighborhood group, anyway – was largely negative, according to the DNAinfo report, which called the two-hour meeting “heated.” Jill Peters, President of the Southport Neighbors Association, called the plan to push for the ordinance a “backdoor deal,” according to DNAinfo, and said she felt like an “ant being stepped on by giants.”

Probably not the start the Cubs were hoping to get out to with the neighborhood. This is a process, though, and I’m sure hurdles weren’t entirely unanticipated.

It is amazing that, at every turn, regardless of how reasonable the Cubs appear to be, they are met with intransigence and power grabs. As outsiders, we don’t know enough to say for certain that the Cubs are the victims in all of this, but, man, if I’m a little frustrated, I can only imagine how they’re feeling right now.

Still, as with everything since the Ricketts Family took over, the Cubs are in this for the long haul, and I’m sure they’re willing to put in the work.

My sense is that the Cubs are looking to get as many of the changes in place as soon as possible, and causing as few waves as possible. In the long-term, there’s no way the Cubs are going to be content to increase the night games by just three, and the concerts by just one. But, if it’s a first step they can take and get in place before the 2013 season, they might as well get the ball rolling. The proposed ordinance would last only through 2015.

Now we’ll see how much of a fight the neighborhood puts up, and what the Mayor’s support is worth. Is the Mayor’s support the reason Tunney seems amenable to helping the Cubs? Or is it the Cubs’ seemingly new-found willingness to discuss a deal with the rooftops? If the Cubs can’t get a deal done with the rooftops, do they lose Tunney’s support on the other issues?

The political angles, man. I can barely keep up with them.

  • JB88

    I find it hilarious that someone from Southport is complaining about the stadium. In addition to living in East Lakeview, I lived in Southport.

    First, that area is rowdy year round, with the bar scene keeping the neighborhood up until well after 2 a.m. every weekend, holiday, etc.

    Second, the residents of that neighborhood are constantly selling their parking spaces during every weekend and night game.

    Third, Southport already has zoned, well-enforced parking restrictions, including towing for parking on the streets during Cubs games without a zone sticker.

    Fourth, unlike in East Lakeview, it is next to impossible, in my opinion, to hear Wrigley, even when standing on Southport during actual games.

    Cubs are going to need to grease some wheels if they want the surrounding mouthpieces to buy into this project.

    • JB88

      EDIT – Regarding point three, that is for Cubs night games, not all games (I don’t want to leave that impression).

    • Rmoody100

      I completely agree. I lived at Grace and Clark for years and the only time I really remember hearing the crowd when I was living there was maybe during a home run. Concerts are a slightly different story sounding somewhat like a muffled radio, but still no big inconvenience a couple times a year. For being merely 1 block north from Waveland on Clark street I really saw very little problem with night games either. To be honest I was between 22-25 when I lived there so maybe my tolerance was a little higher for noise and other peoples shenanigans, but I really don’t see how people living all the way over on Southport even get bothered that much. If anything I would think it would be a plus for their businesses.

  • DarthHater

    I hope the whiners get squashed like an ant being stepped on by a giant.

    • mudge

      We’re all whiners here.

      • DarthHater

        Clarification: I hope the anti-Cubs whiners get squashed like an ant being stepped on by a giant. ;-)

  • Rcleven

    Welcome to the world of Chicago politics.
    Been like this since the first Daley.

  • Jacob

    Selfish people. This irritates the hell out of me.

  • Peter

    Screw these people, they want wrigley to remain a landmark, handcuff the owners into turning thatdump into a decent halfway modern ballpark, then bitch when the owners want to fix up their property. You live by wrigley field, so you take all the shit that come with it. Dont like it? THEN MOVE!

    • T C

      Honestly, I usually *really* hate the “if you don’t like it, you can get out!” attitude to people complaining about things, but in this case? It’s completely justified and plausible. Real estate values are down all over the country and Chicago and its suburbs, but are actually alright in and around Wrigley. Plus, there is high demand for places near Wrigley because of the environment it creates. There is little reason these people couldn’t move a few blocks further from the stadium.

  • Jason

    Tom should reverse course and say the Cubs will be moving to a suburban area and building a new stadium. Even if he has said he would never move the Cubs give those “ants” a heart attack at the thought of having all that income they gain from the Cubs taken away from them.

    I’m sure they would change their tune then. It’s like these people don’t understand that the Chicago Cubs make their business, they don’t make the Cubs business. One business dies if the Cubs were to leave the area and one will continue to prosper.

  • King Jeff

    “ant being stepped on by giants.”

    If this is how she feels when they ask for 3 night games and one concert, I hate to think of her reaction to more signage. I also think she needs to be replaced with someone a little more competent, because this is just the beginning, and there are more giants coming.

  • MichiganGoat

    Between this and Campana conversation I really need baseball to start. NOW

    • JB88

      I blame Bruce Levine for the Campana piece, who said, amongst other asinine things in his chat today in answering a question about Campana being DFA with the Hairston signing: “One of those guys — and I’m guessing it’s Sappelt — may be designated for assignment when they make a roster move to put Hairston on the 40-man. Campana is a guy you want to keep because he can help change games with his speed, and he gives you some protection if someone on the 25-man is injured”

      *Boggle*

      “You’re out of your element, Donnie!”

  • Camiata2

    Perhaps the Cubs should look into real estate along the lakefront to build a new park that duplicates everything that the fans enjoy about the old park, and gives them more leeway to create Wrigleyville in their image. Personally, I’m more than receptive to this idea.

    • Pat

      If you’re referring to Lake Michigan, all of that property is a) really freaking expensive, and b) already owned by someone else.

  • Mike

    I went to the University of Iowa, and they’ve long had the same issue with their football stadium. Kinnick borders right next to a residential neighborhood, and the residents frequently complain about all things gameday related. Of course, the stadium has been there for like 75 years, and they enjoy incredibly inflated property values (to say nothing of those who charge for parking), but BY GOD they’ll be damned if they’re going to have people playing loud music for three hours on 8 Saturday mornings per year.

    • hawkcub

      Very similar situation IMO.

  • kgd

    So do the Ricketts actually need permission from the local community to do what they want with the renovations or is this purely a goodwill thing?

    • TNN2

      They need City Council’s permission to add more night games. They need the alderman’s permission to host a street festival. Both of those are influenced by the community groups so getting their support is always helpful, though often impossible.

      These community meetings are always interesting. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, in Chicago somebody is always angry, and angry people at a meeting make a disproportionate impact.

      The best thing Cubs fans could do is to organize their friends and family members that live around Wrigley Field and start showing up to some of these meetings to support the Cubs. Will it really make a huge difference? Who knows, but it would give Tunney some cover which is important to any politician.

      I wasn’t there the other night but I can almost hear the arguments since they haven’t changed in the 13 years I’ve been going to them – night games mean too many drunks, too much traffic, no parking, too much trash, it’s too dangerous, etc. etc. I don’t doubt that people have legitimate complaints but my personal experience from living the in the neighborhood for a decade is that a lot of it is overblown, especially in the last couple years. Unfortunately I moved away in the last year so it’s up to some of you to start showing up and voicing your support in a real way.

  • Sully

    Frustrated is right Brett. Everytime I hear the residents in Lakeview bitch, my blood pressure goes through the roof. The Cubs are handcuffed like no other major league team. It’s totally bogus.

  • cubchymyst

    Didn’t the field look awful after one of the concerts this past summer?

    • North Side Irish

      Yep. They had Roger Waters and Brad Paisley shows on back-to-back nights in June (I think) and for weeks after, there was a dead patch of grass the entire length of Waters’ stage. I believe they ended up putting down new turf on the next homestand. Big part of the reason I was surprised they scheduled the Pearl Jam concert the day before the Jason Aldean show.

      • cubchymyst

        So the bad field was likely the cause of back to back concerts and not the number of concerts. That was something that I was confused about when I saw the request about the increase in concerts. But as you mentioned it is weird that they scheduled Pearl Jam and Jason Aldean back to back after last year.

        • TNN2

          It was also due to the fact that the stage for The Wall was ridiculously enormous. No matter what kinds of shows Wrigley has in the future it’s unlikely they’d ever have a stage that large again. Have a look here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arrogant/7501494090/

  • cubfanincardinalland

    This is not going to end well. To many moving parts. Until the news comes out that the Cubs have looked into alternative sites for a new ballpark and location, they are peeing in the wind. At that point, the Cubs can fill out the wish list. It’s called leverage.
    People are nuts and greedy. Status quo, the Cubs will get nothing done.

    • ThereWillBeCubs

      You just cornered the market on platitudes.

  • itzscott

    Sometimes people object to change simply because it’s in their DNA to object to everything.

    It would be interesting if the Cubs would put these people on the spot by asking them exactly what about it they object to, how long they’ve lived where they do, how exactly it would impact their lives beyond what it currently does and how differently they perceive the additional night games, concert and street fair impacting their lives from when they initially moved into the neighborhood?

    • md8232

      You are missing the point. She is talking about her “Feelings”.
      I’m sure she is a “Victim”. Besides, “It’s for the chirrens”.

  • Jason Cash

    Why not offer these residents on Sheffield (if or when the parking structure is built) free parking spaces in it to start as good will gesture? I know it does not cut down the congestion but it is a start to clearing the street for fests and fairs. As for the concerts can’t they do a cut off and clear out time of say 11:00 I believe it is the same time for any type of late night noise. I just do not understand why any of this was ever an issue in the first place other than poor management in the past agreeing to this crap. I agree with everything the Ricketts are saying, this is not a museum and is not publicly owned this is a private company and should be able to operate as one. And of course I agree with the same old argument, you bought next to one of the most visited ballparks in the world and one of the top 10 tourist attraction in the city and state, you take the good with the bad. Stop crying you did NOT have to buy in that neighborhood. And let’s face it the neighborhood would NOT be what it is without the Cubs being there. It would be just a northside version of Bridgeport

  • Crazyhorse

    I suppose a balance is in order. People need to remember that Wrigley Field is smack in the middle of residential area . I feel the plan will get done. I do have trust that the Ricketts Family and the alderman will hatch a deal.

    I tend to look at all sides , Cubs ,residents, rooftops and the Community. I thought the Cubs did the best thing they could, sell cubs fans first on the renovations without a hint to the alderman and the residents and it seems like a powerful first move.

    Yet the residents do have a say Most stadiums are not in a residential area.and zoning laws need to be respected and changed accordingly that both side can agree on. Alderman Tunney will work hard for a compromise for the voters in his district and The Cubs

    The rooftops, I think a deal will happen . The Cubs needs to buy out the contracts or wait for the rooftops owners to collapse. The Cubs signed a contract and have a responsibility to honor that contract before and after don’t matter. Fact of the matter a contract was signed. How the Cubs get out of that predicament will be in their proposal

    The Community , This is 2013 and Wrigley Field is popular destination smack in the middle of residential area. I am sure many of a hotel chains have looked into setting up shot around that area and yet not a single hotel has been constructed. maybe ?or maybe not.

    My personal views if the Cubs cannot agree then they should move. Like most business owners they should have a right to improve and develop their stadium and unlike most owners they do have a responsibility to the community the Stadium is surrended. I am sure the City Of Chicago would love the extra revenue but the Residents in that Community should never loss its voice to big business and each side should determine the fate of this renovation. Both side have a responsibility since they both eat and poop in the same neighborhood.

    And for those people that want to complain that people in that area should be used to it- well so should the Cubs honestly , I hope Ricketts Succeeds and get what he wants and I hope most people can be happy with outcome. My prediction – The City will ease the landmarks status , they will get their night games and extra concerts. The street fair will get done. The hotel hmm that a tough one 50/50 chance that is built or not. Hotels are like bed bugs one gets in and then more want to get and stay. Also I agree with all sides lets just see what happens. thanks

  • ruby2626

    I say screw the city, screw the neighborhood and build a modern 60,000 seat stadium in the Northern suburbs. Seeing that the bulk of the season ticket holders are out that way anyway the Cubs would be amazed how many more season tickets they would sell. I bet in a neighborhood with no restrictions they could get close to $100 Million per year in advertising alone, the stadium would be paid off in no time.

    But wait what about the ambiance of Wrigley Field, 105 years without a W.S. champion, enough said.

    • MichiganGoat

      Why are people calling for a 60 or 80K stadium in the burbs? It’s a sure fire way to ensure almost no games are sold out.

    • Tom A.

      Move to the suburbs and the team can sell my three box seats to another fan.

      Everyone, including our Major will be looking for new jobs too.

      This ruby2626 person must be from the Northern Suburbs. Completely uninformed person and total dumb comment.

      The Cubs can and will never move from the City of Chicago, unless somebody else is going to pay for eveything.

  • North Side Irish

    I’ve lived in Chicago for 15 years now and I’ve been to a couple of these types of neighborhood association meetings. The problem with these meetings is that the only people who go are the people involved in the proposals being made and the people who want to complain about them. The people who are “fine with it” don’t go and express that point. My experience has been that these meetings are never anything but negative, but things still manage to get done.

  • Morken

    Tom Tunney is a typical Chicago politician. The rooftop owners bought him; now he’s expected to return the favor.

  • Barroof

    To all you haters. I live half a block from Wrigley and bought a very expensive condo to be near Wrigley. Ok – here we go. I prefer day games. I can go whenever I chose day or night but nothing IMO is better than an afternoon in the sun watching my Cubbies and drinkin a few Old Styles. I make my own hours so it’s not an issue for me but most people want more nite games cause they have to work during the day. Don’t hate everyone who lives by the field for no reason.

    • DarthHater

      Nobody is hating everybody who lives by the field for no reason. But they are hating, for example, the selfishness of those who think that, because they personally prefer day games, the Cubs should be legally precluded from having more night games.

    • Mick

      Barroof, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • Jack

        Mick – no points for you!

  • http://www.Chicagocubstalk.blogspot.com ChicagoCubsTalk

    They should save the money and move out of town. Turn Wrigley into a museum or something

  • I-CubsFanBoy

    Ruby2626 nobody, and I do mean NOBODY wants to go to the Chicago suburbs for ANY reason except maybe that they live there. The people who live in the city don’t think about them at all, unless they need to catch a flight or they’re cracking a witty joke about obscene suburban sprawl. To the people downstate, the suburbs are nothing but a collection of cookie cutter McShopping malls and factory outlet centers, and to people out of state (of which I am one) they’re just a 45. min to an hour & a half long traffic obstacle between them and the city of Chicago. Abandoning Wrigley for the boring white-washed plasticity of the suburbs would not only sell out the character and tradition that make the Chicago Cubs one of the great American sports organizations, but would also hurt the long term financial viability of club.

    • Womacks

      Except for the 3 out of 4 people in the Chicago metro area who live there.

  • I-CubsFanBoy

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the Chicago suburbs are great place live. I live in suburban Des Moines, IA. It’s a great place to raise your kids, work and live, but I don’t think anyone wants to spend their vacation here, anymore than they want to spend it in Elgin or Napperville.

  • MDitka

    I lived within 2 blocks of Wrigley from 1988 till 2003. I lived there b/c i loved the cubs & wanted easy access to as many games as i could get to &/or afford (& also the day/nightlife). After a while most get tired of the atmosphere (like i did & wanted to save what was left of my liver) & move on to a more suitable neighborhood or they decide to stay long term. I knew many neighbors who loved it & their income from parking & never wanted to leave. I just think its hilarious how these groups (& their ‘leaders’) think they are so high & mighty to try & stop the team from expanding night games & other needed improvements in & around the ballpark. Do they really think that the new owners & the team in general are not going to advance eventually to be more like every other team? How crazy is that? Bottom line is they will eventually have 40 or 42 night games & other activities in & around the park during the season & offseason with the new construction. and the other bottom line? all the neighbors will profit from it – either from their property values, businesses or other ways of making money.

  • Fastball

    If I was Ricketts I would have about 15 American Van Lines Tractor Trailer Rigs parked all around Wrigley. That would get the pucker factor raised a couple notches. Get Bubba n Buster out front asking for the Ricketts wanting to know what all they want moved out of the stadium before it gets dark. I would love to be there just to see something like that. If those damned neighbors won’t cooperate start moving stuff out. Hell the place probably needs a serious spring cleaning anyway.
    I would put a Crane up along the back of the stadium and have Billy Bob stand out there asking questions about how they plan to take that scoreboard down.

    Sometimes you gotta put the squeeze on to get what you want. Sometimes you just gotta move to a different neighborhood!!

  • Fastball

    I have almost 200 acres of land just south of Knoxville, TN. I will bulldoze my cabin and buy another plot of land if Ricketts leases my land on a 100 year lease. It will be very cheap. He pays the taxes and I get my property paid off and I let the Cubs build a new stadium on my land for damned near free. Now people in Chicago won’t like it much. But I would. I don’t even live down there but I will let him use my land to move the Cubs to Tennessee just to prove a point and break the damned curse. All I want is the Pink Hat Guys seats for the rest of my life. Which if I stay somewhat healthy is probably another 35 years if all goes well. After I die those Pink Hat Guy seats get to stay in my family til the lease runs out.
    I figure Ricketts can build a state of the art stadium in Tennessee for about 1/2 the cost of his upgrade project. The area my land is on is already a tourist attraction during the summer. So finding people to watch Cubs games will be easy enough. And the Double A team is just a few miles up the road. Kinda Fits if you ask Me.

  • Jared W

    I understand that no one cares about ruining the baseball field of a 100-loss team, but what happens when the Cubs get competitive in the next few years and they’re throwing parties at Wrigley every month? Are they gonna re-sod the entire field every time? It looked (and probably played) terrible for a while there in 2012.

    The primary function of Wrigley Field is baseball, not concerts.

  • TommyK

    Ricketts should immediately have some very public meetings with suburbs about building a replica of Wrigley outside the city. See how fast every suddenly gets on board with his plan.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    There is another possibility. The city can declare “eminent domain”, force the homeowners out, pay them a fraction of what their property is worth, build a parking lot which brings them in tax revenue, and bingo! The stadium is no longer in a residential area.

    Think not? Didn’t that happen on the south side?

    regards,
    5412

    • Section 31…….. SHHH

      There is another possibility. The city can declare “eminent domain” on Wrigley Field turn that over to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, since you fail to mention that The White Sox dont actually own their ball park anymore. Then they can declare “eminent domain” on a two square blocks behind left field – Build that parking garage so it can housed 8 thousand cars . the wheels are spinning!

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