After months of back and forth negotiations (or lack thereof), the Chicago Cubs and the city of Chicago are reportedly close to a $500 million makeover of historic Wrigley Field, the Cubs' home ballpark since 1914.
Cubs fans have clashed over the future of the ballpark, with some even voicing their support for the Cubs to move to Rosemont, Illinois after the village's mayor offered a free parcel of land for a new Cubs ballpark.
Although the renovations deal has not been officially finalized (some sources say a deal could be done by the Cubs home opener on Monday), details of the agreement have already been hinted at by some reliable sources.
Here are five things you need to know about the proposed renovations.
For a complete breakdown of the plans for the proposed renovations, click here.
One aspect of the deal that hasn't received much attention is the inclusion of more concerts at Wrigley Field throughout the year. Although this is exciting for music fans, it may be a nightmare for the Wrigley Field grounds crew as well as for the Cubs.
The effect of concerts on the turf has been well-documented, and more concerts would equal more of a problem. Although it isn't the end of the world, it still could cause some concerns. The biggest concern would be the safety of players, which could be compromised with a subpar playing surface.
Recent renderings of the proposed hotel have shown the structure to stand at 91 feet. This is approximately the same height as Wrigley Field, sans the light towers. They also include a bridge over Clark Street, which runs north to south along the third-base line.
Though some may not see the hotel as a big deal, such a structure may distract from the actual ballpark itself, especially a bridge over the street.
Hopefully, the hotel is designed to be nothing flashy and does not take away from the appeal of the ballpark.
On April 5, DNAInfo.com reported that the Cubs have proposed an idea of having a taxpayer-funded "service district" around Wrigley Field.
The article explained that, "special service areas are local tax districts that fund expanded city services for the area, such as beautification, more street cleaning and more trash pick-up."
The program would also be a way to put added security around the ballpark. The Cubs have agreed to cover the cost of up to ten officers surrounding the ballpark but would like for the rest to be funded by taxpayers.
The proposed plan calls for a parking deck located at Clark and Grace streets, just north of the ballpark.
For the average Chicagoan, this may not be much of a concern. However, walking nearly a quarter of a mile is a bit of a chore for a disabled or handicapped individual. Accessibility for the disabled is of extreme importance in today's society, and the Cubs have thus far entirely neglected to even acknowledge handicapped parking in their plans.
A parking deck also could worsen the already painful traffic congestion around the park. Because hundreds of cars would be vying for a spot in one small area, traffic will be an even worse nightmare.
The Cubs have already agreed to pick up the $500 million tab on the renovations to the ballpark, which could cause an increase in ticket prices for fans. Tickets currently range from $9 to over $350, but the days of single-digit ticket prices may be long gone.
The team originally asked for public funding for the renovations, but it later agreed that the team would fund it pending the approval of more night games and increased signage throughout the ballpark.