The discovery of personalized Wrigley Field pavers near a downstate landfill created a brief dust-up Tuesday before officials with the Cubs stepped in to say they had told buyers earlier this year that the bricks, advertised as permanent fixtures, would be replaced by next season.
“As we communicated to paver owners in March, due to the Wrigley Field construction schedule, it was required we remove some of the original pavers,” an email by the Cubs sent Tuesday evening read. “It was also apparent that many, if not all of the pavers, would be damaged during the removal process, which is why we did not make them available to owners and committed to providing new personalized pavers.”
In March, the Cubs sent an email informing those who bought pavers that all of the roughly 12,000 bricks would be replaced by 2016’s Opening Day outside the Budweiser Bleachers along Sheffield and Waveland avenues.
The team launched the program in 2006, advertising the bricks for $160. The purchase also includes a replica brick for the buyer to keep.
The pavers scare reached critical mass early Tuesday, when the Daily Leader of Pontiac reported that some of the bricks destined for an area landfill were springing up around the city, located about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.
Cubs officials said Tuesday they weren’t sure how many of the bricks were involved. Republic Services, a company the team hired to dispose of the bricks, said it will conduct an internal investigation into the matter though it believes they were taken from the landfill “by unknown individuals without authorization.”
“Today, we learned that an unknown number of pavers made it outside the chain of supervision,” a statement by Republic Services said Monday. “We are taking the sensitivity of this unfortunate incident very seriously, and we have initiated an internal review.
“We understand that the pavers have significant sentimental value,” the statement continues. “For many fans, the pavers represent personal tributes or memorials to loved ones.”
Suzanne Terrell, 45, of Walker, La., told the Tribune she was contacted by the Daily Leader and was told that one of the discarded pavers was one she had purchased. A gift to her mother, it included an inscription with Terrell’s late father’s name and a reference to the 1984 team.
“He always went to Cubs games as a kid growing up in Cicero,” Terrell said. “In 1984, it was one of the first times I went to games with him, and we really bonded over that. I wanted a keepsake to remember it in Wrigley Field.
“I would like to get it back. … The original paver has meaning to me, but replacing it is the important part.”