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Area Around Wrigley Is 'Just Not That Great,' Cubs Chairman Tells The Score

By Ariel Cheung | January 11, 2016 10:49am | Updated on January 12, 2016 10:07am
 Tom Ricketts speaks at a City Club of Chicago meeting in 2015.
Tom Ricketts speaks at a City Club of Chicago meeting in 2015.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

WRIGLEYVILLE — If you find bar crawls bogus and late-night revelry repulsive, you've got a friend in Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts.

As the Cubs move forward with renovations, the team hopes to open its plaza this summer and provide family friendly activities that Ricketts said Wrigleyville is sorely lacking.

"On a sunny day in July, Wrigley Field is fabulous, and everyone who's there is happy," Ricketts said during an interview Saturday with 670 The Score. "But even on those beautiful days in July, the neighborhood directly around the park isn't all that nice."

While the Clark Street strip of bars south of Addison attracts plenty of business on weekends, Wrigleyville has its limits, particularly with non-game days and non-drinking activities, Ricketts said.

"With respect to non-game days, that area is just not that great," he added."It's just kind of inert."

The Cubs plan to bring back the plaza ice rink, which was tested out in the years before renovations began. Family movie nights and farmers markets are also in the team's plans for the plaza, which the Cubs hope will be able to sell alcohol under certain conditions.

Last week, the Ricketts family criticized proposed time restrictions on alcohol sales on the plaza, asking for a cut-off an hour later than Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) proposed.

 The second year of construction at Wrigley Field includes major work on the plaza and office building that will have first floor retail and dining.
The second year of construction at Wrigley Field includes major work on the plaza and office building that will have first floor retail and dining.
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Provided/Chicago Cubs

"Parents may enjoy a glass of wine on a summer movie night on the plaza with the kids. This limit would hurt those sort of events," said Dennis Culloton, spokesman for the Ricketts family.

The $450 million renovation project at Wrigley Field paved the way for the Cubs to build more buzz around Wrigleyville during the off-season and non-game days, Ricketts said.

"We've always wanted to be able to control the area around Wrigley a little more," he said. "We've always said Wrigley is great when you're coming with a bunch of buddies from college ... But if you're bringing your family, it kind of falls short."

The City Council will consider Tunney's ordinance amendment regarding alcohol sales at the plaza on Wednesday.

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.

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