Deal or no deal? Cubs question mayor's Wrigley plaza claim

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Mayor Emanuel just approved a Cubs-owned outdoor plaza. But not everyone may be happy to hear that.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced overnight that he has had reached an agreement to allow limited alcohol sales at the new plaza under construction next to Wrigley Field.

City Hall issued a press release saying the Cubs will be permitted to operate a new outdoor plaza only on game days and 12 other special events.

"This agreement is a win for the Chicago Cubs and their fans, and a win for the neighbors who live near Wrigley Field," Mayor Emanuel said. "By taking a balanced approach to this outdoor space, the Cubs can continue to invest in a historic neighborhood ballpark while protecting neighborhood quality of life."
Team spokesman Julian Green told Eyewitness News, "We were unaware of an announcement or a news release being issued and have no further comment."
On Saturday, Green told the Sun-Times, "None of these terms are reasonable when you're trying to invest $750 million. The city should look at the ordinance from 2013, which was the deal. That should be the framework for anything going forward."

The City Hall statement also said the local alderman was on board.

"I am pleased with the compromise that we reached on this ordinance. It allows the Cubs and their partners to activate the plaza on game days and with events year-round while addressing the concerns raised by neighbors," Alderman Tom Tunney said. "Importantly, you will need a ticket to access the plaza on game days so our community will not absorb an increase in occupancy along with the many other changes to the Wrigley campus. I am excited about the investments being made in our community and thank the Ricketts for working with our neighbors to craft a plan that it is a winner for everyone."

Many people who live in the neighborhood have been fighting back against this outdoor plaza plan for a number of years.

Last week, a meeting between Wrigleyville residents and the team's neighborhood relations manager got a bit heated, as people talked about why they didn't want this outdoor plaza to be built.

"We have families that live here, people who have kids who have to go to school, people who get up early who have to go to work," Lisa Iverson, a Southport neighborhood resident, said.

But the Cubs' neighborhood relations manager, Heather Way Kitzes, said their vision is not a "24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year beer garden."

Under the agreement, the Cubs will be permitted to operate a new outdoor plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field, with restrictions on hours of operation and alcohol sales.

The tailored approach sets different hours for game days and non-game days, and special events, including farmers' markets, ice skating and movies.

The team will be allowed to hold 12 special events on the plaza annually.

The plan still needs to be considered by the City Council, who will vote later this month.
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newswrigley fieldrahm emanuelChicago - Wrigleyville
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