Thursday, December 2, 2010

Report indicates Cubs are working on Plan B for Wrigley Rehab financing

The Sun-Times indicated today that the Ricketts’s plan to use the amusement tax growth to pay off bonds that were to be issued by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority is dead.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as the public reaction to this proposal was almost entirely negative.

According to the Sun-Times story, the Cubs are working very closely with local officials now to try to come up with some scheme to help pay for the extensive renovation to the ballpark that they want.

It appears that they are going to try to explore every possible avenue to try to get some sort of public financing of at least part of these renovations. It won't be until they exhaust every option that they will look at some more internal ways of paying for the renovations (PSLs).

The current ideas being floated include expanding a restaurant tax boundary, or a TIF district around the Wrigleyville area.

In the end, it appears that there is significant political support for a public financing plan of some sort…it’s just a matter of finding the right way to configure this so that it has no burden on the normal tax payers in the Chicago area.

The negativity by a lot of people when the initial proposal was released was really an overreaction. This should have been looked at as just the starting point in this process as the Cubs try to come up with the cash to resurrect their crumbling ballpark. This was their way of starting a serious political discussion on financing the renovations. That being said, I think the Rickettses did a pretty piss-poor job in setting this up, and they have really fumbled a lot since buying the team. It might be a while before they can restore some credibility.

They may very well be able to ultimately get what they want here, but they have quickly made enemies in a city where that can, often times, mean death.

I still call for them to fire Crane Kenney and bring in a person who has extensive experience in running a baseball organization. If they don’t, they very well might suffer a significant number of other setbacks in the next few years.