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City Denies Cubs' Request For Expanded Wrigley Renovation Hours

(CBS) Mayor Rahm Emanuel threw cold water on the Chicago Cubs' request to begin working on Wrigley Field renovations around the clock, after cold winter weather significantly delayed construction of new bleachers.

Cubs officials on Monday said they would ask the city to allow construction at Wrigley 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until they finish the renovations, to make up for multiple weather delays during the offseason.

Emanuel shot down that request on Tuesday, noting city ordinance allows construction work only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"You know the city ordinance is clear that you cannot have 24-hour building. That's number one. Number two, they haven't even proposed anything. The only people they proposed it is through the newspaper. There's nothing in it, the city, so I have nothing to respond to," he said.

The mayor said he also wants to talk to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), who represents Wrigleyville. Emanuel said he remains committed to his desire to see a healthy Wrigley Field, but also a healthy Wrigleyville.

"The ordinance on the city is pretty clear. It's not pretty clear. It's absolutely clear as it comes to 24-hour construction," he said before walking away from reporters.


The Cubs later submitted a formal request to allow renovation work from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but the city also shot down that idea.

"City ordinance is clear, and the request made by the Cubs for any type of expanded hours is not allowed under City code," Buildings Department spokeswoman Mimi Simon said.

City ordinance only allows exemptions to the normal construction hours in cases of emergencies, and for certain public works projects like roads or other public infrastructure. To get any expanded hours, the Cubs would need action from the City Council.

The Cubs have already said the bleachers wouldn't be ready until May 11, and now Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney says that is for the left field bleachers. As for the right field bleachers, Kenney says they will probably be ready by early June.

"It is all dependent on the weather at this point and the steel has really not even begun in right field, and we're focusing on left field to make sure we can get left field up and running as well as center," Kenney said. "That will take care of our season ticket holders."

CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports when Wrigleyville neighbors heard the 24/7 construction proposal was shot down, they thought they'd won a small victory.

But they charge, the Cubs still don't want to live within the law.

"I think they'll just keep coming back for more and more and more until someone of courage says enough is enough, you've gotten what you've gotten, live with it," said Jim Spencer of the East Lakeview Neighborhood Association.

Wrigleyville resident Nicole Greenberg lives a few hundred feet from Wrigley and says the construction shakes her house.

Neighbors here believe if there wasn't an election in six weeks, the Cubs would have gotten everything they wanted from mayor Emanuel because, they say, the Cubs always have.

The team said a new left field video board should be working by opening day. The loss of bleachers means about 5,000 fewer seats until the bleacher work is done.

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