Cubs fan and friend of WSD Anthony Boylan wrote a press release for the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce today and wanted to share it with us so we could share it with you:
Tom Ricketts laid out his vision for the Cubs Tuesday saying the plan aims to rack up wins for the team and the fans, as well as for the city and the neighborhood.
“Wrigley is a beautiful park, but it comes with severe limitations,’’ the Cub Chairman told a gathering of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce at D’Agostino’s Pizza and Pub on Southport Avenue in Wrigleyville. “It’s hard to build a first-class organization with third-class facilities.’’
One challenge for the club is putting a winning team on the field with the current limitations created by the park’s historic status, small size and antiquated facilities. Ricketts drove home the need for improving things such as the batting cages where hitters warm up during a game and the fitness rooms where they work out as part of improving team performance.
The Cubs play in a park with inferior lighting and $15 million in annual repairs to the aging structure. The team pays $15 million in annual amusement taxes, second only to the Yankees, a team that plays in a $1.5 billion stadium paid for by the public. Wrigley also misses $20 million in annual income because of restrictions preventing an electronic scoreboard and other signs.
Ricketts said he believes the team’s $500 million “restoration’’ plan — a word he distinguished from rehab, reconstruction or redevelopment — will come to fruition for a variety of reasons, primarily the good it will do for Lake View and the City. He cited several figures:
- $600 million in incremental economic impact to the city from what currently is the third largest tourist attraction in Illinois. (Some days as many as four out of 10 attendees are from out of town.)
- 1,300 permanent jobs and 800 construction jobs from the plan
- Nearly $3.6 million dedicated to parks and community development to be determined by the Cubs and local alderman in the coming years.
- $19 million in new tax revenues.
“We kept coming back to this,’’ he said. “All we really need is to be able to run our business like a business and not a museum.’’
Sounds like stuff that we’ve talked about before ad nauseum, and now the wheels are rolling. Anthony also told me that the Cubs clubhouse only has eight showerheads for 25 players, something he left out of the release but that he thought was cool. Also something about the Cubs being “green” because of all the day games and using troughs, but I think that was in jest. Ha ha.