Should public money be used to rehab Wrigley?
April 4, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The City of Chicago and Cubs appear to be close to striking a deal to use public subsidies to renovate Wrigley Field.
That would indicate a game change for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
At the Friendly Confines some new additions are already up for the start of the season, including a Bud Patio in the right bleacher section with a supporting LED sign. But Cubs officials want more renovations at Wrigley Field, and they want public subsidies to do them.
"We're looking forward to a great and exciting new team and a lot of energy around Wrigley Field this year," Mike Lufrano, Cubs said.
Reports suggest the Cubs and City Hall are close to agreeing on a plan where the city would let the team tap amusement tax revenues, a move the mayor could reportedly support because the Cubs would pay the city at least enough every year to pay off the bonds issued to finance the renovations.
The changes include new seats, new washrooms, new and wider concourses and improved concessions and state-of-the-art skyboxes with a separate entrance and elevator.
"We have had White Sox Park and Soldier Field paid for by taxpayers and the Cubs have been the poor stepchild here," Mark Ganis said.
The mayor said Tuesday a lot of pieces have to come together for the renovations to get taxpayer help.
"It certainly wasn't happening with the mayor from the South Side. I don't know if the mayor had to be from the North Side, but those childhood linkages that you have to a baseball team, they don't leave you when you become an adult, so that may have played a little bit of a role in this," Ganis said.
For fans, feelings are mixed about a public subsidy for a private enterprise.
"It depends on how much. I think people wouldn't mind a little bit of it going towards it, but I don't know. The players make so much money and the owners, they should pay most of it," Sally Jablonski, baseball fan, said.
Any deal would have to be approved by the state.
The Cubs play their home opener Thursday, the White Sox open at home April 13.
local, ravi baichwal
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