CHICAGO (CBS) — Staff from the mayor’s office and executives with the Chicago Cubs held a meeting Monday on plans to renovate Wrigley Field.
Cubs boss Tom Ricketts set April 1 as a deadline to reach a deal on proposed improvements to the historic but aging ball park. The meeting ended without an agreement. However, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said today that he never set a deadline and that he believed a deal will be reached.
A Cubs spokesman told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley the deadline isn’t as important as the fact that the parties are still talking.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s staff had discussions with Cubs’ front office personnel and Ald. Tom Tunney at City Hall this afternoon.
A Cubs spokesman said the team was “hoping for good results.”
Mayor Emanuel points out that since the Cubs’ owners imposed the deadline for an agreement, they can decide whether to keep working or not and the mayor seems to find reasons to keep working.
“There is good progress made to both allow the Cub owners to make the investments they need in the stadium, that they need to make in their stadium, and there is good progress to also make sure that the community around Wrigley, what is known as ‘Wrigleyville,’ sees a type parking and security that they need for games to also enjoy the community,” said Emanuel.
The mayor notes that it took the Ricketts family 18 months of talks before he got them to see that there would be no taxpayer funds committed to the rebuilding of the friendly confines.
The team wants a massive new electronic scoreboard and more night games as a way to generate more revenue. They also have plans to renovate the club house. That scoreboard would anger owners of the rooftops overlooking the filed, because it would block the view.
The Cubs are also working on plans to develop a small, triangular plot of land it owns in front of the stadium.
The renovations would require changes in zoning laws.
Theo Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations, said before Monday’s season opener in Pittsburgh that the renovation plan is “fundamentally important to get us to the next level.”
“If we don’t get our Wrigley renovation done in a timely manner and done the right way, then we can’t accomplish our business objectives and that will get in the way of us accomplishing our baseball objectives.”