Wrigley Field Renovation: Rahm Says More Talk Needed on Right Field Patio
JEFFERSON PARK — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday that the concept of adding a right field patio at Wrigley Field was brought up too late to "shoehorn" into last week's vote, but he didn't slam the door on it.
In fact, the mayor noted that the Cubs and the rooftops agreeing on the patio was significant.
"Given the usual rift that exists between the rooftops and the Rickettses, here's the one idea the two of them agreed on. Which stood out," Emanuel said at an unrelated news conference.
The idea is to extend Wrigley's right field exterior wall back an additional eight feet, taking out a lane of parking on Sheffield Avenue. An elevated deck behind the existing bleachers would be built. And by pushing a planned 650-square-foot outfield advertising sign further back, the Sheffield Avenue rooftop clubs wouldn't have their views blocked by the sign.
Rooftop owners first suggested the idea and sent a rendering to the Cubs. The team then made the patio bigger and added a bridge to the Addison Red Line stop at the request of neighbors who suggested it could keep Cubs fans off the streets.
The Cubs have said they refuse to put a shovel in the ground for the $500 million project to upgrade the field and develop the outside area until the dispute over the rooftops contract is settled.
But patio idea was brought up too close to the end of the negotiation process to "shoehorn" it into the planned development that City Council approved last week, the mayor said.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and the Cubs must still run the plan through the community before gaining further city approval.
"What we all agreed to was the alderman is gonna run a community process because the community has to be heard," Emanuel said.
A few neighbors who have seen the Cubs' rendering of a patio and bridge said while they were not necessarily opposed to the idea — especially since the rooftops and the team agree on it — current images are "ugly" and "tacky."
Other community members do not like the idea of a "party deck" over Sheffield, and members of East Lakeview Neighbors have opposed the Cubs taking over more public way in their neighborhood.
The Cubs have said that if they cannot build a bridge over Clark Street, which was deferred due to community opposition, then they'd like the city to approve a version of the patio over Sheffield instead.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.