On the heels of renewed “leaving Chicago” reports, there is word that Chicago Cubs Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts has recently met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the Wrigley Field renovation project and … it was a boring, productive meeting. Whew.
Crain’s Greg Hinz reports that Ricketts and the Mayor met at City Hall on Tuesday – in a meeting that was purportedly scheduled before that DuPage County hullaballoo broke – to discuss the renovation. Hinz called the meeting cordial, and without much excitement. (That’s a good thing.)
The meat of Hinz’s report, however, was his note that the two men agreed that the rest of the renovation approvals for the Wrigley Field portion (i.e., the stuff in the stadium, itself, as opposed to the plaza and the hotel) should be “fast tracked.” The goal would be to have City Council approval in place before that body breaks for the Summer, which Hinz said would come well before Labor Day. To my mind, that isn’t really a “fast” track – it’s the track the Cubs were likely expecting all along. But whatever.
Hopefully that time line would be what the Cubs require to get started on the work as soon as the season ends, with an eye toward having the player facilities improvements completed in time for the 2014 season. You can freely assume that the outfield signage, because of its value to the organization financially, is also a priority for 2014.
Hinz’s report also gets into some inside dish on Alderman Tom Tunney, so it’s worth a read. The short version is that it’s unclear just how on board he is with the renovation (even after agreeing to the framework that all sides are trying to implement now). That makes me wonder if Ricketts’ meeting with the Mayor was about Mr. Tunney, himself, and about how the Cubs don’t want any more surprises as the renovation pieces are placed before City Council for approval. The Mayor has all of the necessary clout, obviously, but City projects run through the alderman of the ward in question. Tunney has to be involved. That’s just the way it is.
Speaking of the DuPage County report from yesterday – a representative says the Cubs are unhappy with the process in Chicago, and have asked for presentations about moving elsewhere – a report today from the Tribune has that representative, County Chairman Dan Cronin, walking things back a bit. He does not expect the Cubs to leave Chicago, but simply doesn’t want to be kicking himself for not making an offer if the “what-if” situation happens.