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The City's New Political Hotspot Is ... Wrigleyville?

By Karl Klockars in News on May 14, 2010 7:20PM

2010_05_14westaerialviewaddisonparkonclark.jpg The Ricketts Family versus Tom Tunney about advertising. Immigrants rights activists fighting against the Arizona Immigration bill and protesting the Cubs' spring training home. Citizens up in arms against a developer intent on tearing down businesses across the street from Wrigley Field. How did Wrigleyville, which is usually just drunken and pee-soaked, get so angry?

Activists from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights are outside today's Cubs/Pirates game trying to get fans and drunkards to sign a petition which requests that the Cubs move their spring training from Arizona to Florida. CBS2 reports that protester Leone Biccieri has concerns about the team's lineup...getting put in a lineup: "Imagine Carlos Zambrano, imagine Aramis Ramirez hanging around in Phoenix outside their hotel room at midnight. I mean, the police do not have to see them doing something wrong now." The Cubs bring $135 million to the State every spring, so it's not a minimal chunk of cash that's in question.

Meanwhile, Alderman Tom Tunney is still upset over one little sign at Wrigley, but has signed off on the razing and rebuilding of an huge portion of land across the street. Earlier this week, Tunney announced his support for a hotel/condo/shopping center across Addison from Wrigley built by M&R Development. The plan would take out numerous businesses, including bars, pizza places, and ImprovOlympic, despite Tunney's claim that the part of real estate in contention is an "under-developed piece of real estate."

Since we posted about this last, they've scaled back the number of apartments though the hotel remains the same size. It's gone from 22 stories to 9, 2000 feet of retail space are gone and 4 additional parking spaces have been squeezed in. And yes, it appears that SportsWorld will be spared the wrecking ball, based on imagery from the developers.

Since no cause is complete without a Facebook page, iO instructor Tara DeFrancisco has created "People Against the 'Malling of Wrigleyville.'" While you may be thinking, "Isn't that idea about 2 decades too late," DeFrancisco acknowledges that the neighborhood "is already home to arguably outlandish businesses, and though the new mall shops mentioned are convenient and common, we believe the section of Clark being mauled is the part with 'character.'" At press time, over 3600 people agree, and a brainstorming event is planned to try and "Save Wrigleyville."