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The Cubs are asking the Illinois legislature for $200 million in Wrigley upgrades

Nov 12, 2010, 10:05 AM EDT

Wrigley Field

Attention Tea Partying Cubs fans:

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is asking the state of Illinois to help finance more than $200 million in renovations at Wrigley Field.

In a letter to season ticket holders and Wrigleyville residents, Ricketts said the Illinois General Assembly will be considering a bill to preserve Wrigley Field. The plan will allow a portion of future city and county amusement taxes, paid entirely by Cubs fans, to be invested directly in the preservation of the ballpark. A bill is being drawn up that will be considered in the veto session that begins next week .

Ricketts’ letter said “it will not increase taxes paid by Cubs fans or anyone else and will not create any new taxes.”

I guess technically speaking it won’t increase or create taxes. But those amusement taxes that will be used are already being used to fund some other projects, and moving them to fix up Wrigley Field will necessarily drain those other projects of revenue. Projects that, as far as I can tell, aren’t currently designed to enhance the Cubs’ income streams the way a renovated Wrigley would.

Ricketts’ model for the Wrigley renovations — which are needed, I fully admit — are the Fenway Park renovations that have gone down over the past four or five years.  Query: were those funded by public monies, or did Fenway Sports Group pay for that?  I believe the latter.  I’m going to double check that, but if anyone knows off the top of their head, please let me know and I’ll update.

  1. Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Well, I for one think Tea Party fans of the Cubs would fully support this move.

  2. ak4759 - Nov 12, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    On the news here in Chicago last night, they revealed that it’s pretty much a sure thing that the additional funding passes because the the senator from the Wrigleyville district is the Illinois Senate Majority Leader AND sponsor of the bill.

    More to Jonny 5’s comment, I think if you’ve been to Wrigley or the area around it you would support this move. Compared to other stadiums in the league, Wrigley’s facilities suck and the whole area is in dire need of a makeover.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 11:13 AM

      My reason is more based on the fact that it will come directly from the proceeds of taxes levied on buisness by the Cubs. Most tea members I’ve spoken to enjoy the idea of taxes going back in one way or another to those paing the taxes. This is kind of a huge tax rebate in a way. It sure beats the local gov’t pissing the money away on things like giving their buddies and people they owe favors to no bid contracts and just outright skimming money off everything which is par for the course in Chicago.

    • Alex K - Nov 12, 2010 at 11:35 AM

      The whole area? What parts of the area are you talking about? Wrigleyville is much nicer than the area around some parks.

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 12, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    This is sorely needed. I’ve been to Wrigley 200 times, and it needs much more space, better bathrooms and better vending areas, just to name a few.

  4. 18thstreet - May 21, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Wrigley’s fine. It just needs a new scoreboard. The Cubs should buy one themselves.

    Newer does not equal better.

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