Tunney Draws Another Line In The Sand On Wrigley Field Renovations
By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 18, 2013 2:10PM
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th)
Tunney once again is demanding changes to the Cubs’ renovation plans as the proposal goes before the Plan Commission Thursday. Tunney wants a pedestrian bridge linking the ballpark to a future hotel scrapped, plans for an outdoor patio deck for the hotel on Patterson Street, and a move of hotel “lobby activity” from Patterson to Clark Street or Addison Street.
Oh, Tunney also wants a 10-year moratorium on stadium signage inside the ballpark. It seems he’s still a bit raw over the Landmarks Commission’s decision to grant the Cubs a Jumbotron in left field last week, even though the Cubs agreed to reduce the size of the video screen. If the Cubs agree to all of those conditions, Tunney said he “could” support the plan.
Tunney said his opposition to the pedestrian bridge is a safety issue. “For me, it’s a must [not] have for the protection of my residents,” he said. “Open alcohol on an open bridge is a problem... You could get a drink thrown over the bridge. You could have a fight over the bridge. There’s no place in the city of Chicago where you’re allowed alcohol on a bridge.”
At this stage in the process, however, it remains to be seen if Tunney’s opposition even matters. The approval process has been a swift one since the Cubs and the Emanuel administration announced a framework to the plan in April. The concerns of Tunney and community members have largely been swatted away since. Opponents of the plan gathered outside Wrigley Field Wednesday night demanding a say in the renovation plans and claiming the Ricketts family hasn’t listened to their objections to the pedestrian bridge and other aspects of the plan.
Tunney has acknowledged he’s asked his constituents to defer to him on zoning and development issues in the negotiations. As to whether he can stop the plan from moving forward, he said, “I’m not gonna speculate My [goal] is to be able to say that I represented my community to the best of my ability.”
The Cubs released a statement responding to Tunney’s latest demands reminding everyone the $500 million will not cost taxpayers a dime and that “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.”
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