According to a report from the Sun-Times, Mayor Rahm Emanuel summoned Ald. Tom Tunney and Tom Ricketts to City Hall on Thursday for a closed-door meeting. The Sun-Times reported that Thursday’s meeting took place just after Tunney told the media “he would not agree to the Cubs’ request to lift city restrictions on outfield signs and night games and open Sheffield Avenue for street fairs on game days unless it’s part of a larger deal that includes more remote parking and added police protection after Cubs games.”
The Sun-Times added that Thursday’s closed-door meeting is the latest and most direct attempt by the Mayor to resolve the situation by Opening Day so the Cubs would be able to stay on schedule and avoid losing another construction season.
According to one of the Sun-Times’ Cubs sources, “The mayor knows there is a bottom line to make this work. There needs to be some ability to have some signs inside the ballpark. There is a floor to be able to finance this project.” Fran Spielman was not told how many signs the Cubs would have to have inside Wrigley Field, but the Cubs’ stance from the beginning has been that the team would benefit more from the additional signage being inside the park, not on the rooftops.
Spielman’s source also said, “No matter what the alderman says outside of the mayor’s offense, it’s all about signage. Everything is about signage and the rooftops.” The source does not know if the Mayor is leaning toward one side over the other but viewed the meeting at City Hall as progress.
The meeting reportedly “went fine” with “no fireworks.”
Ald. Tom Tunney told the Sun-Times that nothing was resolved in Thursday’s meeting. Tunney added that he has not decided if he would agree to the Cubs installing signs in the ballpark because he has not seen a comprehensive plan of the total number of signs, and the location they would be installed.
According to the Sun-Times, the Mayor was annoyed about Wednesday’s announcement of the Cubs’ partnership with Chicago Athletic Clubs. The Mayor does not like being pressured and the announcement prompted Thursday’s meeting.
City Hall sources also indicated that if and when the two sides are able to get the signage deal done, the Mayor Emanuel “may be prepared to lift the 30-game-per-season ceiling on the number of night games to 44 or 45 games, with some of the dates reserved for concerts and six to ten 3:05pm starts could also be a part of the mix.”