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The Tug-O-War Over Wrigley Field Plaza's Remodeling Continues

By Mae Rice in News on Jan 11, 2016 10:03PM

Photo credit: Stephanie Barto

At Wednesday's city council meeting, Alderman Tom Tunney will introduce a new slate of proposed regulations for Wrigley Field’s outdoor plaza, which a massive ongoing remodel will add to the field’s west side.

The various stakeholders in Wrigleyville’s well-being—the Cubs, Tunney, bar owners, and local douches—are engaged in a tug-of-war about what regulations, exactly, will govern the plaza. They have been since 2013, when Alderman Tunney proposed his first set of regulations, according to the Tribune.

When it comes to alcohol, Tunney’s latest proposal will allow the plaza to sell beer and wine before 9 p.m. on weeknights, and 10 p.m. on weekends. Sales will pause during Wrigley Field games and concerts, and recommence an hour after they end.

The plaza will also be able to host special events, with the same nighttime curfews as alcohol sales. These events could include farmer’s markets, outdoor movies, fitness events, and seasonal entertainment, such as a Wrigley ice rink, Tunney notes.

These negotiations around the plaza rules have lasted for years because of the competing interests that clash at Wrigley, the Tribune explains. Locals worry about noise; local bars worry about competition from a Cubs-backed beer garden; the Cubs worry about not making the area as crowded and lucrative as possible.

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, for instance, recently told 670 The Score that the area around Wrigley was underwhelming, especially for families.

"The neighborhood directly around the park isn't all that nice... if you're bringing your family, it kind of falls short," Ricketts said. "So we've always wanted to be able to control the area around Wrigley a little more for game days and do more family-friendly things."

As the long negotiations show, Ricketts isn't the only one aspiring to "control" the area.