In hopes of reinvigorating the stalled Wrigley Field renovation project, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel made a series of proposals at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. His proposals include giving the team more flexibility on scheduling night games at Wrigley and giving the Cubs city land, allowing both the exterior right field and left field walls to be pushed back as part of the renovations.
Despite the conclusion of the 2013 season for the Cubs, the team still has no plans to begin work. This stems from an ongoing threat of legal actions from rooftop owners over potential blocked views from the proposed signage and video board.
The organization says that moving the exterior walls back by approximately 16 feet will help minimize the impact of the new additions to the Friendly Confines, which will allow rooftop owners to continue selling seats that allow a one-of-a-kind view of Cubs’ games. However, rooftop owners are still nowhere near satisfied, and said that they will take action.
According to Ryan McLaughlin, spokesman for the rooftop owners, the owners will attempt to enforce their contract if the signage and video board are installed, per the revenue-sharing agreement in place with the Cubs.
The only upgrades that will come to Wrigley Field during the offseason will likely be minor, composed of structural upgrades that will lay the groundwork for the major pieces of the renovation that will be installed in the coming years.
In terms of the added flexibility in scheduling, the Cubs will be allowed to play up to 43 regular-season night games, instead of the 46 approved under a measure several months prior. According to the Chicago Tribune, “thirty-five night games would be scheduled prior to the start of the season and another eight would be games that national TV broadcasters ask to be shifted from day to night games. Up to three of those rescheduled games could be played on Saturdays.”
Emanuel’s proposal also removes the mandate that the organization get city approval to change game times. Furthermore, he proposed that all approved signage be installed as soon as possible with minimal red tape from the city impeding progress.
The team will also kill their proposal of a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street, which would have linked the hotel that the team is paying for as part of the project, as well as an adjacent plaza area. The hotel entrance would also be moved from Patterson Avenue to Clark, and a hotel balcony would be removed at Clark and Patterson.
The often-controversial Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney, 44th, had no comment, simply saying he needed time to review the latest changes.