Let me begin by saying that every time I see that featured image, I want to watch “Hot Tub Time Machine” again because Rob Corddry is such an unbelievable bastard in it. Love it.
What I don’t love right now are the neighbors of Wrigley Field.
@ssdai I suddenly want Ricketts to install Bellagio fountains and a Luxor skybeam in the bleacher area.
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) July 17, 2013
I mean it too. They already have bleacher misting stations, they might as well throw in the Bellagio fountains for the full summer experience, plus it cools down the fans too. Multi-purpose! The Luxor skybeam might be a bit much though, you can see that thing like 30 miles out of Las Vegas. I guess we can give up some ground to the neighbors with home run fireworks and the like being more disruptive than a major league baseball game should be. But I’ll push for those Bud Light Bleacher fountains.
Tonight’s Wrigley protest is officially called “Wrally to Save Wrigleyville”
— Serena Dai (@ssdai) July 17, 2013
I see what they’re trying to do there, being so clever with the “Wr” spelling change. But “saving” Wrigleyville? From what exactly? More business? More tourism? Increased property values? Let’s look into this a bit…
Neighborhood groups have been demanding to have more input on the negotiation process between Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Cubs and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) for months. They say the development has been rushed and that critical factors such as traffic studies, noise studies and light studies have not yet been completed.
I think in a way I can sympathize with some neighbors who have been phased out of negotiations because they should have a voice and they should be appropriately heard. But it seems like the previous agreements have taken at least some of these concerns into account. The Cubs will have to pay for more game time security, and it’s not like the Jumbotron will drastically increase light pollution towards the street side as the LED screen should be pointed towards the field; the extra banks of lights on top of the Jumbotron might be a factor but I can’t imagine that would be a huge issue. As for traffic, the streets surrounding Wrigley are either congested or closed off during game times anyway. If you’re a Wrigley neighbor, you should pay attention to game times and plan your travels accordingly, especially in today’s age of mass connectivity. And regarding noise…it’s a major league ball park, and when the Cubs miraculously do something awesome, OF COURSE it’s going to be loud. This team and this ballpark have been here for almost a century, and you just discovered this problem?
But those are all rehashes of old complaints. This part is kind of funny, as stated in Serena Dai’s tweet above and elaborated below:
At Wednesday’s rally, a couple hundred neighbors are expected to come out, said McIntyre. They will be focused on several points, including downsizing the hotel’s density and reducing light and noise pollution to prevent a “Las Vegas atmosphere,” a note to neighbors says.
I don’t really get it. Are the neighbors afraid of new tourists? New business? Again, what am I missing here? Is the hotel blocking their view of the skyline? That’s really the only thing I can think of and most houses/condos in that area are blocked from the skyline anyway. I don’t see a problem with allowing tourists to stay closer to the area so that they’re more inclined to walk out and go to Cubby Bear or Murphy’s Bleachers for a quick drink or whatever. Maybe it’s because I don’t live there and don’t have to soundproof my unit from 35000+ fans screaming when Joe Mather Lite hits a home run.
Tomorrow, this is what is being discussed in the Plan Commission meeting:
A proposed amendment to Entertainment and Spectator Sports Planned Development Number 958, as amended submitted by Wrigley Field Holdings LLC, Triangle Property Holdings, LLC, Wrigley Field Parking Operations, LLC and North Clark Street LLC for the properties generally located at 1060 West Addison Street; 3614-3640 North Clark Street; 3639-3659 North Clark Street; 3701-3709 North Clifton Avenue; and 1101-1103 West Waveland Avenue. The applicants plan to rezone the existing site from Planned Development Number 958, as well as rezone additional parcels currently zoned B3-2 Community Shopping District, and RT4 Residential Two-Flat, Townhouse and Multi-Unit District all to a C2-5, Motor Vehicle-Related Commercial District prior to re-establishing Entertainment and Spectator Sports Planned Development No. 958, as amended. The purpose of the amendment is to allow expansion, restoration and rehabilitation of Wrigley Field; expand the boundaries of the current planned development and allow for office, hotel, entertainment and other related uses on adjacent properties. Wrigley Field is a designated Chicago Landmark.
The neighbors can go out tonight, sweat their balls off, and yell all they want, but they are reaping the benefits, business-wise and property tax-wise, of being a Wrigley neighbor. If the Cubs can’t do business the way they want, they will move (something I’m not totally in favor of but can see happening). The Mayor has too much to lose to allow the Cubs to move, and that’s part of the reason why the neighbors were phased out of negotiations. That said, it seems that at least a subset of neighbors are either ambivalent or even support the Wrigley renovation plan. While the voices shouting tonight are going to be loud, they’re not the only voices out there. The Cubs will likely get what they want, and ultimately, the neighbors will learn to deal, just like they did when they voluntarily moved into the neighborhood next to a popular baseball team.