As the Chicago Cubs and the rooftops that outline Wrigley Field continue (in theory) to hammer out some kind of agreement that would allow the Cubs to finally get to work on the renovation of Wrigley Field without the lingering threat of lawsuits, the community continues to prepare for the changes that will accompany the renovation. Those changes include the development of an open-air plaza to the west of the ballpark, which will be used not only for Cubs-related functions, but also community functions in the offseason.
Serena Dai at DNAinfo reports about a recent community meeting discussing the plans for that plaza, and other Cubs-game-related concerns and issues. Read up for the latest on the community’s perspective (and be modestly encouraged that, despite the Cubs/rooftop impasse, this kind of community planning is still happening). My input? Let people drink at the plaza. Controlled, safe, legal outdoor beer is a swell thing. But I digress.
One piece that stuck out to me was a comment from Alderman Tom Tunney, who hasn’t been in the spotlight nearly as much since City Council approved the renovation and development plan. Regarding the current rooftop dispute, Tunney remains optimistic that things will be resolved soon enough.
“I believe that the infrastructure improvements and cranes in the ground will be happening this year,” Tunney told Dai.
That, of course, would be true only if the Cubs and rooftops come to an agreement within the next couple months, or if the Cubs decide to proceed with their outfield plans without an agreement in place (the construction equivalent of a, “come at me, bro”). As we’ve discussed at length, the Cubs’ position with respect to the rooftop contract seems to be quite strong, but they’re hoping to come to a peaceful resolution to avoid the potential delays associated with litigation.
The rooftops sit in Tunney’s jurisdiction, and obviously there was a relationship there* when last year’s renovation negotiations were taking place. Does that mean Tunney has some inside knowledge on the current negotiations, and his optimism is a very good sign? Eh, I don’t think I’d go that far. It’s probably just the same kind of blanket optimism that Tom Ricketts frequently expresses – the kind that’s tied to the obvious fact that the renovation, in the aggregate, is a very good thing for the area and needs to get started. Still, it’s not pessimism, and Tunney didn’t have to say anything at all. I take it as a teeny, tiny good sign.
If Tunney is right, and if construction starts in earnest this year, it isn’t expected to begin until after this season.
*(I’m not implying anything seedy here, by the way. I’m just saying that, as constituents, Tunney helped to represent the rooftops’ interests last year.)