Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Ald. Tunney Adds to List of Demands

Alderman Tom Tunney added to the list of his demands on Wednesday just a day before the Cubs were set to meet with the Chicago Plan Commission. Alderman Tunney is demanding a 10-year moratorium be placed on the Cubs from adding addition signage to Wrigley Field Field and he is prepared to take on Mayor Emanuel unless the Cubs make four more concessions according to the Sun-Times.

The Cubs passed a major hurdle last week when the Landmarks Commission unanimously approved the addition of a 5,700 square-foot sign in left field that would feature a 4,560 square-foot video screen, a 650 square-foot see-through advertising sign in right field and a sign matrix that will guide future stadium advertising. The Cubs still must receive approval from the Chicago Plan Commission, the city’s Zoning Committee and the City Council before they can move forward with their plans to fund the restoration of Wrigley Field.

Along with the demand of a 10-year moratorium on signage in Wrigley Field beyond the ones already approved by the Landmarks Commission, Ald. Tunney “has demanded that the Cubs scrap a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street connecting a Cubs-built hotel to the team’s new office building; drop the hotel’s outdoor patio deck over Patterson Street, and shift hotel lobby activity from Patterson to either Clark or Addison” according to a report from the Sun-Times.

Fran Spielman reported that Ald. Tunney is prepared to drop his objections and give his support to the Wrigley Field master signage plan if the Cubs meet those four demands. Tunney said those are his “non-negotiables” and that would be his compromise in order to support the Cubs’ plan.

Ald. Tom Tunney is prepared to take on Mayor Rahm Emanuel on the City Council floor.

According to the Sun-Times’ report, “the Cubs agreed to appease Tunney by eliminating the rooftop restaurant and beer garden over Patterson Street and at least consider moving the hotel entrance off that street. But there was no movement on the pedestrian bridge or the ten-year moratorium.”

The Cubs issued a statement in response to Tunney’s demands: “The Ricketts family is seeking to make a $500 million investment that will not only generate significant millions in economic returns for the city, but additional resources to put back into the team. Every single asset we’re seeking has value to the Cubs and potential partners. And we understand better than anyone every part of this project has to be done responsibly with the safety of our neighbors, fans and visitors in mind. Like always, we’re continuing talks with the Alderman Tunney and the city.

Lakeview residents staged a rally outside of Wrigley Field on Wednesday night to protest aspects of the ballpark renovation that could be approved by the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday. The main concern of the Wrigleyville residents is that the renovations would create a “Vegas Atmosphere.”

For those who would like to sign the Cubs petition to support the Restoration of Wrigley Field, you can visit WrigleyField.com

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  • Denver Mike

    I think the results of the landmark committee meeting (unanimous approval) shows that nobody outside of the rooftop owners, and a handful of clueless local residents have issue with Ricketts’ plan. As for Tunney this is just his way of saving face with those residents. In the end he will buckle, like a belt, and the renovations will move forward as planned. Face off against the Mayor of Chicago? Give me a break.

    • paulcatanese

      I would agree 100% with you. It’s been a while since I lived in Chicago, so I don’t really know what kind of power this guy has.
      I would ask, is he for real? How can a person think he is above the Mayor of the city, and demand the things he is talking about?
      It is truly unbelievable that he could come up with this nonsense and should be laughed right out of office. Has he not a clue as to
      the damage he is or is trying to do to the City of Chicago?
      If he is not run out of office by the end of all of this, I will be amazed.
      I cannot fathom that this twerp is getting away with this, and believe he will not, and if he does, he leaves the Ricketts family with no option but to move, period.

      • Denver Mike

        I moved out of the Chicagoland area a little over 3 years ago and had never even heard of Tunney before, but thanks to modern technology I still listen to EPSN1000 all day at work. From what I understand He has ran unopposed for something like his last 3-4 elections. Combine that with the fact he is paid around $140k per year as alderman is what leads me to believe he is just trying to lock up another term.

      • Dorasaga

        Well put. I was going to say the same thing.

  • calicub

    Any word on what the turn out was for this “Wrally to save Wrigleyville”?

    • Denver Mike

      It was the women who make up the “44th Ward Book Club” which meets at the Wrigleyville McDonalds every Thursday night. The main premise for their opposition was having to pay $35 to park there during Thursday night Cubs games. Due to the All-Star break tonight was the most affordable for their “rally”.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        You have to be joking!?

        • Denver Mike

          Would it be the craziest thing you’ve heard in regards to this story?

  • John_CC

    That is completely insane…a 10 year moratorium on all signage INSIDE the park? Who in holy hell does this idiot think he is? I hope Rahm crushes him.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Not living in Chicago we always hear the tales about Chicago politics, how crooked it all is and the power wielded by the aldermen. It seems to be somewhat true! You think Tunney is just seeking some under the table payoff from the Ricketts? I just don’t get it. For a neighborhood so “supportive,” of the franchise and obviously built up by it being located there, they sure don’t seem to understand where their meals come from. I’m not there but it seems crazy. The only people I understand are the rooftop owners because they have a contract, like it or not they are partners and bought their spaces with certain expectations that have been in place for a generation.

    • Denver Mike

      The funniest thing I heard all day was (former Bear) Tom Waddle on the afternoon show when he said something like, and I’m paraphrasing, “if the Cubs were to move out of Wrigleyville I would make sure to go down there 81 times a year and urinate in someone’s lawn.” I started laughing out loud in the middle of the office. This whole situation has become a comedy, and I have no doubt the Cubs/Ricketts will get what they desire in the end.

    • 07GreyDigger

      People hate change regardless of state or area. They want the government to help them when they need it, but when it comes to progress, people will fight you tooth and nail if it upsets their little bubble in anyway. Even if it makes sense. Because in their four walls is what matters and nothing else.

      It’s sad really.

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  • Dorasaga

    I’ve commented about this, and I will do so again. This whole issue of renovating and expanding Wrigley Field and its entertainment value has turned out to be comical due to excessive and local politics. I’ll repeat this in another word.

    The politics and organized oppositions from the interest party have been unnecessary. Their worry of parking or noise or (more) blocked views are related to each other, in order to stop any progress of the renovation project.

    They were unnecessary because the only concern for the city–aldermen, Mayor, and local residents alike–is to make sure that the Ricketts pump in more money. The more they build, the better the economy. The more they built, the more they will need to maintain what they built, as a continuous business operation on a heritage site. The more maintenance works and forces placed on the site, the better security be provided to the neighborhood.

    More rich people will come to spend. More shops open. More police patrol. More alternative choices for life, for performing arts, for creative activities (there’s a new hotel created to directly add value to the heritage of Wrigleyville), for chances of education outside of school… In short, the Ricketts are paying more so there will be an immediate and better life in the community that follows.

    Unfortunately, what Tunney and oppositions “proposed” were reduction of free spending (not from their pockets, mind you). They are forcing Ricketts the spender to bring less to the neighborhood. They demand ignorance. They rather see the neighborhood to die than to compromise.

    • paulcatanese

      Pretty cool! That’s one reason as I had said before,,,, move, move . Let Tunney support the City.

      • Dorasaga

        I believe that if this kind of project was brought up by any Cubs ownership back in the 1970s, it would pass and be executed unopposed. The mayor had more power than today, the country was always looking for progress or change, and the neighborhood wasn’t so divided by politics (at least within Wrigleyville). The only problem of course was that the owner was uninterested by any project remote to progress. P.K. Wrigley was equally ignorant then as this current opposition sounds now.

        To PK’s credit, he tried various new (and good) ideas between 1930-1940s; but he was known to be against breaking the color line and opposed Branch Rickey to induce Mr. Robinson to baseball, against bringing light to Wrigley, and so on.

        And once in a lifetime for many, many Chicagoans and all Cubs fans around the World, we have a owner who cares, who’s not buying myths, who’s avoiding blind spending that served minor purposes, as far as baseball concerned, such as marketing of a newspaper or the brainwashing of “Lovable Losers.” He’s not a South Sider who’s fine with tax money paying full for a stadium. He’s actually bringing something good to most people, retaining the entertainment value of Wrigleyville.

        I don’t think that the Ricketts had earned respect among “the community,” Cubs fans, and the politicians, because he hasn’t. But he’s been trying, and I only wish that those who’ve been opposing him at least give him a chance. After all, you don’t have an owner eager to pay everything falling off trees. And less for a Cubs club.

        • paulcatanese

          I would think you’re last paragraph says it all. It makes one good point, it’s his money, he should have little or no resistance in what he is trying to do.