Mayor: No public money for Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel maintained Wednesday that he doesn't want taxpayer money to fund the renovation of Wrigley Field.

The Chicago Cubs announced the five-year, $300 million project this past weekend but said the organization would pay for it itself if the city relaxed some "restrictions" so the Cubs could generate more revenue inside and outside the ballpark.

"When I first started this discussion, the Cubs wanted 200 million in taxpayer dollars," Emanuel said Wednesday morning to reporters. "I said, 'No.' Then, they said we'd like 150 million taxpayer dollars, and I said, 'No.' Then, they asked if they could have 100 million dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and I said 'No.' Then, they asked for about $55 million in taxpayer subsidies. I said 'No'. The good news is after 15 months, they've heard the word, 'No.' "

Emanuel is in favor of the renovation and knows it would be good for the area surrounding the ballpark, as well as for fans.

"That said, Wrigley is important to the neighborhood and to the city -- or at least a part of the city that likes to go there -- and I want to ensure that it continues that kind of important role that it plays in the North Side, which is why I'm also pleased that they're also putting a hotel up," Emanuel said. "So, I asked all the parties involved to finish this up."

Emanuel is in favor of the Cubs finding new ways to generate profit and urged them to work with the neighborhood, as well as rooftop owners to do so.

"The Mayor has said throughout the process that no taxpayer money will be involved," a spokesperson for Emanuel said earlier this week. "The Mayor's office is supportive of the Cubs coming up with ideas to maximize revenue from Wrigley Field, and have told the rooftop owners that it's in their best interests as well. Staff-level meetings with the Cubs are ongoing."

Emanuel wouldn't elaborate if neighborhood restrictions -- such as the start time for games -- would be lifted as the Cubs have requested. For example, the Cubs prefer more 3:05 p.m. starts for Friday games.

"We all have a stake in getting it done," he said. "It is not done until all the parts fall in place. There are other things that are necessary to do that."

Alderman Tom Tunney said in a statement Wednesday that among his priorities in working with the Cubs on zoning changes include a limit on night games and concerts, a limit on street closures of Sheffield or Waveland Avenues for street festivals and an updated planned development for the proposed triangle building on Clark Street north of Addison.