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Cubs, city find compromise with fests

In a compromise with Wrigleyville and alderman Tom Tunney's office, the Chicago Cubs will host a Wrigleyville Block Party on their property during three key weekends this season, beginning with this week's series against the New York Yankees.

The team originally wanted to close Sheffield between Addison and Waveland during the weekends, but the compromise was to hold the fairs on Cubs property. The events, which will feature live music and interactive activities, will be held on the Cubs' red and purple parking lots -- on the west side of Wrigley Field -- between 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

"The Cubs' original proposal was to close Sheffield, and it met with pushback from the community," said Max Bever, the director of community outreach for Tunney's 44th Ward office. "Our office didn't see the community benefit in closing down the street, that's why it was modified to doing the event on private property."

There also will be a block party during the July 1-3 weekend when the Cubs host the Chicago White Sox and Aug. 19-21 when they host the St. Louis Cardinals. The three series are considered "marquee" games, and they're the highest priced tickets of the season.

Bever said the alderman's office will monitor the three weekends to determine the feasibility of future events.

"The original request was for a three-day festival with full-time closure of Sheffield," Bever said. "No other street event in the 44th ward has a street closed for three days. If you're opening the door to that, then you're opening the door to a lot more requests for new festivals.

"As it is, the alderman is not open to the idea of creating new street festivals. This compromise was acceptable."

Sheffield was closed -- and named "Wildcat Way" -- when Wrigley Field hosted a football game between Northwestern and Illinois on Nov. 20.

"That was a much more unique type of event," Bever said. "That was a one-day closure in winter time. Local businesses supported that whole-heartedly. We saw additional people and revenue at a time when they're not usually there."

Cubs executive vice president and marketing officer Wally Hayward was encouraged by the experience during the football game.

"Working with (Ravenswood Event Services), we've been able to put this festival on our property to help our fans enjoy new experiences at and around Wrigley Field," Hayward said. "'Wildcat Way' worked out so well when we ran that with Northwestern and Illinois that we felt for our prime games during the height of summer that this would be a great experience for us as well as our fan base."

ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine contributed to this report.