Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn laid down the law today: no way the state contributes to an effort to spend public money on a renovation of the privately owned Wrigley Field.
"Our state has severe fiscal challenges so the very idea of the state of Illinois spending millions and millions of dollars on Wrigley Field, I don't think that's in the cards at all," Quinn said Monday morning on WLS Radio. "They bought the team and they should make the lion's share of the investment to fix up the park."
Other politicians, particularly on the county level, have also expressed displeasure with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's statement that the city was close to an agreement with the Cubs on a funding plan. One big problem: the amusement tax discussed as being the possible source of Wrigley Field renovation funding, isn't totally controlled by the city -- both the county and the city levy amusement taxes.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has repeatedly called for city or state help in renovating the Chicago landmark, which will be 100 years old in 2014. He's pitched a plan where the team would build the so-called triangle building next to the ballpark, with $200 million in additional ballpark improvements funded by either a share of the city amusement tax or the issuing of bonds from a state body. Such improvements could be undertaken along the lines of a years-old Wrigley Field 2014 plan, which detailed the features in the new triangle building (which would include restaurants, team offices, parking and party space on the roof) as well as enhancements to the ballpark.
Given that the price of Wrigley Field renovations could reach $500 million, Emanuel will certainly need a partner or two on the funding front. But with the governor dead-set opposed to it and Cook County officials opposed as well, putting together a deal may be more difficult than anticipated.
RELATED STORIES: City, Cubs finalizing terms of Wrigley Field renovations; Ricketts: Time to talk Wrigley Field public funding again; Want to buy a chunk of Wrigley Field? Dream on; Gammon rips Wrigley Field, defends Ricketts; Mayor Rahm: No to city aid for Wrigley Field; Poll: Voters oppose public funding of Wrigley Field renovations; State funding of Wrigley Field renovations dies as Assembly adjourns
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