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Cubs infrastructure payment to city of Chicago could be postponed

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The city might give the team a break due to the pandemic.

Photo by @WillByington / www.willbyington.com

As part of the now-completed restoration and renovation of Wrigley Field, the Cubs had agreed to put money into a City of Chicago fund (called the “CubFund Project”) that was to pay for infrastructure improvements around the ballpark, including street lighting and paving.

John Byrne of the Tribune reports that the city has proposed permitting the Cubs to defer the final installment of that payment until 2024:

The payments are part of a 2013 deal when the team’s owners, the Ricketts family, was asking for City Council approval to undertake massive renovations around Wrigley Field.

The team agreed to make $500,000 payments each year from 2014 to 2018, and $250,000 payments from 2019 to 2023, to cover the cost of new street lighting, paving and other infrastructure work around the park “to show that they’re good neighbors,” Tunney said.

The final $250,000 payment would instead be made in 2024 under the amendment introduced Tuesday.

This doesn’t seem like a lot of money — it’s less than half the cost of a minimum-salary baseball player — but the Cubs have claimed losses of over $100 million because they didn’t have any fans in Wrigley Field due to the pandemic. The ordinance that would permit the deferral was introduced in Chicago’s City Council Tuesday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), according to Byrne’s article.

In the end this probably isn’t a big deal. But since the report is out there, I thought you’d like to know about it.