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Mayor Rahm Emanuel cast himself as a defender of Chicago taxpayer money when he discussed the ongoing negotiations surrounding the Wrigley Field renovation Wednesday.
"The Cubs wanted $200 million in taxpayer dollars. I said, 'No,'" Emanuel said, according to NBC Chicago. "The good news is after 15 months they heard the word, 'No' and so we are at a point there will be no taxpayer subsidies for a private entity."
Emanuel has not signed off on the deal yet entirely, but acknowledged the economic importance of getting the renovation off the ground as soon as possible.
"Wrigley is important to the neighborhood and to the city—or at least a part of the city that likes to go there," Emanuel said according to ESPN.
On Jan. 19, the Ricketts family-owned Chicago Cubs unveiled a lofty renovation plan for the team's home turf, complete with a $300 million price tag that includes a clubhouse, more restrooms and a boutique hotel across from the ballpark.
The Ricketts family pulled a tax subsidy request from the plan but in return wants the city to ease up some restrictions in Wrigleyville, particularly the ones affecting game start times, billboards and signage.
In an interview with Crain's Chicago Business, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), whose ward encompasses Wrigleyville, slammed the Ricketts' plan as “a bunch of trial balloons,” and opposes the part of the plan that would add outfield billboards to effectively kill off the rooftop game-watching business.
“I think we will come up with a solution. But not everybody's going to be happy,” Tunney said to Crain's. “When they (the Ricketts) bought this team, they bought it with all (of) the assets and liabilities. They can't change the rules after the game.”
Tunney is also opposed to the proliferation of parking and traffic-snarling concerts and night games, as well as weekend closures of Sheffield and surrounding streets to facilitate game-related events.
"...I've asked all the parties involved to finish this up," Emanuel said according to the Tribune. "We all have a stake in getting it done. It is not done till all the parts fall in place."
According to ABC Chicago, Emanuel is withholding his blessing on the deal until all the issues are ironed out.