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Ald. Tom Tunney Proposes Wrigley Plaza Compromise

Which should probably have been expected. Whether this is the final deal remains to be seen.

Courtesy Chicago Cubs

Earlier this week, the Cubs emailed Wrigley Field's neighbors, blasting Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and his demands for early closing hours for Cubs events on the plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field once it opens, likely later this year.

Wednesday, Ald. Tunney proposed new rules that appear to offer compromise positions that would help the Cubs and also the neighborhood:

Tunney presented revisions to his proposed plaza ordinance Wednesday. The new proposal extends plaza hours to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays — a compromise that falls between what Tunney and the Cubs have sought previously.

Unlike the proposed patio liquor license, the ordinance would only allow for beer and wine to be sold.

Tunney wants to limit the plaza to eight special events annually for the first two years, although a single event could last for up to 15 days. Like his January version, Tunney's latest proposal still requires the Cubs to have a separate "public place of amusement" license for events.

Special events would include any nonbaseball activities or concert with more than 1,000 people in attendance, beer and wine service throughout the plaza and noise levels exceeding city limits.

That typically would not include smaller-scale events like the ice rink, family movie nights and farmers markets, which would only have alcohol sold inside the plaza restaurants and their patios — not on the plaza itself.

Alcohol could be sold on the plaza starting two hours before Cubs games or concerts and through the seventh-inning stretch or one hour before the end of a concert.

Only those with tickets to games or shows would be allowed on the plaza, which would close 45 minutes after concerts and night games.

Tunney also wants to prohibit Wrigley Field concerts on weeknights during the school year from Labor Day through June 15.

These all seem like reasonable compromises, though the comment in the DNAinfo article (linked above) from Mike Lufrano, Cubs vice president of community affairs, was noncommittal:

"I don't think I want to get into this debate tonight," he told neighbors Wednesday. "The draft invites dialog, and I think we should have that dialog. We're willing to talk."

Eventually, they'll figure out a deal. The events on the plaza are supposed to be both for the benefit of the team and the neighborhood, and as noted, they will be of limited duration. It should be noted that the Cubs baseball team isn't going to be running these events; they'll be run by a separate company, Hickory Street Capital, owned by the Ricketts family.