There have been various stories on the $575 million ballpark expansion and neighborhood redevelopment efforts of the Ricketts' family at the Friendly Confines, like the ones by Chicago Tribune writers Paul Sullivan, Hal Dardick (June 5, p. 6 ("Cubs chairman touts renovations to chamber")), and Stacy St. Clair (June 10, p.4 ("Cubs date on parking dispute")). We know these plans include seven outdoor signs with two video boards included, and moving the bullpens from outside the foul lines to spots beneath the bleachers. We have read about expanding the clubhouse many times over from its cramped quarters. Ditto for the Mayor's balking at not knowing about bullpens underneath the bleachers. We certainly know about the "rooftoppers" and their threat of litigation because of the Cubs supposed breach of a long term agreement with them. And we can't forget about the club's request to offer free remote parking, presently located in the North Center neighborhood, at a remote lot at 3900 N. Rockwell St., provided a special-use permit issues (that goes before the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals on June 20). BUT...
What about those fans who bought into the brick-paver program that the Cubs organization started some years ago or so (at least 6-7)?
Brick pavers are bricks that are inscribed by the purchaser, typically having 3 lines with so many letters and spaces per line. The lines vary, from merely setting forth names, initials, locations to acknowledging loved ones or events. They frame the exterior of the ballpark, notably on the Clark and Addison Streets sides, and there must be into the 1,000s of them by now. A typical cost for one was $160.00, though prices could vary. Thousands of fans entering or walking around the ballpark walk all over them daily too.
If there is going to be construction that affects the inside of the ballpark, certainly a contemplated plaza and digging for a new clubhouse, surely those bricks will have to be removed, changed, relocated, destroyed or one or more of the above. So what happens then? Does the club plan on relocating those that are moved, replacing them in their precise location or what? This writer phoned the front office on two separate occasions and asked the question, what does the Ricketts family plan on doing with those brick pavers as part of the renovation plans? The answer I received both times was the same: WE DON'T KNOW. I then asked, what about those of us whose bricks were purchased at the very start and as a consequence have received a favorable spot...like at the front entrance? Again, the answer was, WE DON'T KNOW.
So, besides video boards and signage, a potential lawsuit brought by the roof top owners on Waveland and Sheffield, free remote parking, and Emanuel's disgust at not knowing in advance about amending the original renovation plans, don't forget those of us who purchased the brick pavers. After all, we are the ones who frequent the park often, despite the miserable year the Cubs are having (again). We are the ones who say, "wait 'till next year". But dear Cubs front office and the Ricketts' ownership, there is one thing for certain, we are not chopped liver.
To those who read this post, how about sending the Cubs a message by posting it on social media sites, like fB or on Twitter. But above all, an answer needs to be forthcoming as part of the renovation plans, not once construction has started.