Tunney Talks Wrigley Field, Lists His Demands
Ald. Tom Tunney says he has a few priorities when it comes to the controversial renovation of Wrigley Field.
Tunney released an official statement Tuesday evening outlining how he feels about the drastic and controversial renovation project the Cubs released Saturday. And according to the alderman, his first priority is maintaining a quality of life for neighbors.
“As I have stated in the past, there is no doubt that Wrigley Field is a Chicago treasure and an economic engine for the 44th Ward,” Tunney said. “While I support job growth and development within our ward, I was elected to represent the residents and to ensure the overall well-being of the Lakeview community.”
Cubs Executive Vice President of Community Affairs Mike Lufrano told the packed ballroom at the Cubs Convention Saturday that neighborhood relations are a top priority. He said making Lake View thrive is an important focus of the project.
“The Rickets family has really led the way to encourage us to be good partners, and that includes the neighbors around the ballpark,” Lufrano said.
However, with controversy revolving around public funding, parking, the number of night games played and more, tensions between the two have been high.
In the statement, Tunney outlined his priorities in working with the Cubs on their request for changes in the landmark status and zoning tied to the renovations.
Tunney's Priorities Include:
- A 10-year extension of the Neighborhood Protection ordinance that would include a limit on night games and concerts held annually at Wrigley Field.
- A dedicated police detail unit for all Wrigley Field events, especially post game coverage.
- An improved streetscape—lighting, sidewalks, traffic signals, identifiers and landscaping—on Clark Street to enhance commercial activity and on Sheffield Avenue to preserve the residential district.
- A commitment to restore the CTA Sheridan Red Line El Station.
- A limit on street closures of Sheffield or Waveland Avenues for any Cubs Street Festivals.
- An updated planned development for the proposed Triangle building and plaza on Clark Street north of Addison. This development should include space for public and community events like farmer's markets and ice skating.
- A long-term agreement between the Chicago Cubs and its rooftop partners concerning advertising inside and outside of Wrigley Field that has the approval of the Landmarks Commission, the City and our community.
However, the public's demands are what have the Cubs saying residents should pay up. Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said if the public wants to dictate how they operate, then they can help pay for the $300 million renovation through an entertainment tax.
“In most ballparks, if you’re a publically funded facility like our friends on the South Side, there’s an amusement tax,” Kenney said. “...If this is such an asset (to the community) and we’re being restricted, we need some help. If they want to treat us like the other 29 (privately owned) clubs, where we can play games whenever, have advertisements, the Rickets will be prepared to write the check.”
Funding and neighborhood issues aside, Tunney said he think the two will be able to soon reach an agreement that will work for both parties. And with the five-year renovation expected to begin this fall, the compromises will have to come quick.
“Keeping the priorities and residents' views in mind, I believe we can work together to find a compromise that will allow Wrigley Field to expand and improve while keeping an inviting and safe environment within our neighborhood,” Tunney said.
Tunney says he's yet to see a formal, updated plan on renovations the Cubs plan to do to Wrigley Field. The team says the plan to give a similar presentation gave at Saturday's Cubs Convention during Wednesday night's 44th Ward Community Directed Development Council meeting.