Tomorrow, the Plan Commission is expected to pass upon various aspects of the Chicago Cubs’ comprehensive plans to renovate Wrigley Field, build a hotel, and create a plaza area just west of the ballpark. I’ve not read anything yet that indicates that will be anything but perfunctory … but let’s not get cocky. You just never know.
In the interim, tonight, a group of concerned Wrigley neighbors will be gathering at the corner of Clark and Patterson at 6:30pm CT to stage a rally opposing the Cubs’ renovation process. This group of neighbors believes they have been excluded from the process, and want to make sure they are heard before the Plan Commission takes any action tomorrow. You can read more on the rally here (DNAinfo) and here (Crain’s).
A few of you passed along a message from the rally’s organizers, stating their purpose:
YOUR support and your voice are needed to save our streets from being annexed to the Cubs and the area becoming a digital media circus and open container free-for-all.
In other words, it sounds like this rally’s purpose is to focus on the aspects of the renovation plan that are external to Wrigley Field: namely, the hotel and the plaza.
The Cubs plan to include video boards and advertising signage in the plaza and on the hotel, and there has long been a concern in some corners that the area will take on a “Times Square” atmosphere, inconsistent with the neighborhood in which Wrigley sits. From my perspective, the areas we’re talking about – surrounded by Wrigley, bars, shops, and commercial space – don’t really have much of a residential feel in the first place. I understand the concerns, but I see a great deal of upside for the community in having a hotel next to Wrigley, a large athletic club in the hotel, and an open-air plaza for various activities in the heart of Wrigleyville. Maybe that’s Cubs-colored blinders and an outsider’s perspective, but it’s not like I don’t love Wrigleyville. And it’s not like I don’t want to see it unharmed. I just tend to think the Cubs’ proposals for the area are affirmatively good. That they also help the Cubs is a bonus.
I’m told there are pro-renovation group(s) encouraging Cubs supporters to attend the rally and voice their support for the comprehensive renovation plan. I’m not going to encourage you to go or discourage you from going. I’ll only say this: these kinds of situations have a tendency to spiral out of control quickly, and lose sight of the issues. Don’t find yourself on the wrong side of that spiral. If you attend, please consider how your actions and behavior reflect on the issues/entities/people you support. Be respectful. Be positive. Be courteous.