Emanuel summons Tunney, Cubs to meeting on Wrigley Field signs
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter email@example.com March 8, 2013 10:15AM
Updated: April 10, 2013 6:08AM
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) can talk as tough as he wants. Mayor Rahm Emanuel holds the cards in the Cubs’ dispute with the rooftops over Wrigley Field signage that’s holding up a $300 million plan to renovate the 99-year-old ballpark.
That much was clear on Thursday when Emanuel summoned Tunney and Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts to City Hall.
The closed-door meeting marked the mayor’s latest and most direct attempt to satisfy the Cubs’ demand to resolve their signage dispute by Opening Day to avoid losing yet another construction season.
Shortly before the meeting, Tunney boldly told reporters that he would not agree to the Cubs’ request to lift city restrictions on outfield signs and night games and open Sheffield Avenue for street fairs on game days unless it’s part of a larger deal that includes more remote parking and added police protection after Cubs games.
The Cubs say they need those new revenues to bankroll a sorely needed Wrigley renovation without a public subsidy.
“The mayor knows there’s a bottom line to make this work. There needs to be some ability to have some signs inside the ballpark. There’s a floor to be able to finance this project,” said a source close to the Cubs, refusing to reveal a specific number of signs. “No matter what the alderman says outside the mayor’s office, it’s all about signage. Everything is about signage and the rooftops.”
The Cubs source was asked whether Emanuel had taken a side. “Can’t say he’s picking one side over the other, [but] it’s progress that the mayor brought everyone together,” the source said.