Cubs, City Near Deal on Wrigley Field Renovations

Yahoo Contributor Network

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday his administration is nearing a final negotiation with the Chicago Cubs to renovate Wrigley Field on the city's North Side. The mayor has told the Cubs they must invest their own money into the stadium, a response to owner Tom Ricketts' efforts in trying to convince the city to forfeit decades' worth of amusement tax growth to fund the renovation. The negotiations not only seek to renovate Wrigley but also expand opportunities in the neighborhood.

Here are some facts about Wrigley Field, recent changes in ownership and proposed projects.

* Wrigley Field was built in 1914, making it the second-oldest ballpark behind Fenway Park in Boston and will host the Cubs' 98th season in 2012, noted the Cubs website.

* The park was originally known as Weeghman Park, which cost $250,000 to build and had a seating capacity of 14,000, although today it seats 41,160 fans.

* ESPN reported that just before the start of the 1927 season, the field was renamed Wrigley Field and the park's infamous ivy-covered walls, which often cause baseballs to be lost, date to fall 1937 when two types of ivy were planted.

* Getting night games played at Wrigley was an uphill battle due to city ordinances that prohibited the bright lights in a residential neighborhood. On Aug. 8, 1988, the lights were turned on for the first night game.

* In 1981, the Tribune Company acquired ownership of the Cubs but in 2009, the Ricketts family reached a deal for just less than $900 million to buy the team, according to Reuters.

* For months the parties tried to hash out a deal with several disagreements getting in the way, most notably about the value of the Cubs' broadcasting contracts and other assets.

* The Huffington Post reported in January a series of renovations for the park were proposed, including a new 75-foot LED sign in right field and a new Budweiser patio section that will aim to improve the partially obstructed view in that area of the stadium.

* The state indicated it would not be able to provide financial aid for the Wrigley Field renovations, many of which were proposed to coincide with the 98th anniversary of the field because of the state's current financial situation.

* Cubs representatives have also met with City Council's Commission on Chicago Landmarks to ensure the plans could be approved.

Rachel Bogart is a current college student pursuing two science degrees. She provides an in-depth look at global, national, and local environmental issues and important news stories pertaining to the Chicagoland area.

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