Alderman holds meeting about Wrigley ordinance

July 15, 2009 5:32:40 AM PDT
Street vendors, performers and politicians came together in Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood Tuesday.Alderman Tom Tunney met with them about proposing an ordinance that he says would help thin out the crowds around Wrigley Field. On game days the sidewalks are packed with fans, vendors and performers.

On Tuesday, interested parties gathered to meet with Tunney about a proposed ban on performers and vendors.

"There are retail vendors with a lot more invested, i.e. bricks and mortar. Are they at a competitive disadvantage by people selling merchandise in front of their establishment?" 44th Ward Ald. Tunney said.

Tunney said he wants to reduce the congestion by restricting street vendors and performers on Addison, Clark, Sheffield and Waveland around the ball park.

The ordinance, introduced last month, reads in part:

"No person shall peddle food or other merchandise two hours before the game or concert begins and ending two hours after. In addition: all street performers are prohibited from performing two hours before the game or concert begins and ending two hours after."

"We paid for our vendors permits. We bought product, stock piled our stuff and a lot of people depend on this as their income," artist and vendor Paul Ashack said.

"Widen the sidewalks around Wrigley. If you want crowds not to be in the streets, you have to have wide pedestrian sidewalks," neighborhood resident Charlotte Newfield said.

Some who work for bars and souvenir shops said the vendors compete for business, and performers create headaches for patrons.

"People coming in from out town, they go to a Cubs game and all of a sudden they're listening to somebody whacking something for eight hours. It gives people migraines," president of Harry Caray's Restaurants, Grant DePorter, said.

The alderman says he will consider Tuesday's discussion and will decide how to proceed with the issue. Tunney said he does not expect any action on the ordinance until next baseball season.


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