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CHICAGO (CBS) – Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has put together a new funding plan to rebuild Wrigley Field and unlike last time, the mayor is interested, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley blocked Ricketts’ last plan, which included public funding from taxes. According to the report, the new plan still calls for “as much as $200 million in public help for a $400-million rebuild of Wrigley” but new Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “people have been much more interested than Daley’s were.”
The report stresses that no deal has been reached and it still could be a ways off, but it’s certainly significant that the city is being more cooperative now.
It also probably helps that Emanuel is a Cubs fan who lives on the North side, while Daley was a White Sox fan who has been a frequent visitor to U.S. Cellular Field for years.
Reaction was mixed Thursday among Chicagoans.
“I think it’s great,” Mary Runge told CBS 2′s Kristyn Hartman. “Wrigley is an institution. It’s Chicago.”
“I’m a Cubs fan. It’s a nice team, but we don’t have money for that. We could use it elsewhere,” said Chris Lymberopulos, a Chicago public school teacher who didn’t get a raise this year.
But Lakeview Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heather Way says any renovation would be a boost to the local economy.
She takes issue with the way the public financing has been portrayed. She if the new plan is like the old one, “They’re looking to leverage tax dollars from ticket sales in the amusement tax.”
A Cubs spokesman said last fall the project would depend on growth in the amusement tax paid by Cubs patrons – not the existing base that would still go to government.