Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts addressed the ongoing silence between the team and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, saying any disagreements won't matter in the long run.
The team hasn't made any headway on efforts to secure public financing of improvements to Wrigley Field since the political activities of family patriarch Joe Ricketts regarding a perceived smear campaign against President Barack Obama became public. In the fallout, Emanuel (former chief of staff for Obama) severed talks with the Cubs, but the subject came up this week during discussions of an appointment to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.
In a public appearance yesterday, Ricketts didn't address the specifics of what happened this week, but rather asserted he and the Cubs front office are taking a long view of improvements to the historic ballpark. The plan to renovate the ballpark for the 2014 season -- the 100th anniversary of the former Weeghman Park -- developed under previous ownership is still viable, but some decisions probably need to be made in coming months in order to make sure any changes are done by April 2014.
“I haven’t really spoken with the mayor on that for awhile,” Ricketts said Thursday. “But I think that everyone’s got the same incentives to try to not only preserve Wrigley Field and all the economic activity it represents, but (also) create (job opportunities). I think our project creates 1,000 new construction jobs and 1,400 permanent jobs going forward.
“So there’s a lot of incentive for everyone to work really hard to get this done. We just kind of try to overlook some of the short-term political noise and just keep looking at the horizon.”
RELATED STORIES: Spat between Cubs, Mayor Rahm continues; Can Bud Selig warm relationship between Cubs, politicians?; Cubs: Following the Fenway Park recipe for renovations; Ricketts family political activity threatens to scuttle Cubs reno plans; WSJ: Tear down Wrigley Field now!; Chicago politics at play: Tunney vs. the Cubs; Cubs reno plan draws harsh criticism from key alderman; Cubs funding request: $500M in Wrigley Field improvements; Emanuel plan for Wrigley renovation: set aside landmark status; Illinois guv: No public money for ballpark renovations; 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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