Tunney OKs 3rd Wrigley concert – NEIGHBORS UPSET | Alderman sides with Cubs, at least this year

Wed, 11 Mar 2009 04:00

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter fspielman@suntimes.com

If three Wrigley Field concerts in one summer week are too much for the congested neighborhood to handle, the Cubs will not be allowed to have any concerts next year, the local alderman said Tuesday.

Over a community group’s objections, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said he will ask the City Council’s License Committee on Wednesday to approve his ordinance authorizing an unprecedented three Wrigley concerts this summer: July 16 and 21 shows by Elton John and Billy Joel and a July 18 concert by Rascal Flatts.

The Rascal Flatts concert is a Saturday night event that conflicts with a popular neighborhood festival sponsored by the Southport Neighbors Association. The festival features live bands on three different stages on Southport between Waveland and Grace.

The Southport Neighbors Association has urged Tunney to draw the line at two concerts, forcing the Cubs to cancel Rascal Flatts. But, the aldermen is siding with the Cubs — at least for this year.

“It’s a Saturday night. That’s a problem. They’re stretching the envelope. It’s gonna be a challenge. But, there’s a good chance both of these events will be successful. The city is committed to using its resources to handle multiple events,” Tunney said.

“They’ll have an extra one this year. We’ll go back to the drawing board. And if these concerts are not successful, there’ll be no more concerts. They may not have one next year.”

Jill Peters, president of the Southport Neighbors Association, was not appeased.

“The neighbors and the businesses deserve certainty in knowing there is a limit to how many concerts are held every year and assurances that they not violate longstanding ordinances and agreements,” she said.

“This Saturday night concert violates the night game ordinance, which prohibits Saturday night games. And it opens the door to allowing other Saturday night events at Wrigley Field.”

If festival attendance suffers and the Southports Neighbors Association loses money needed to fund local charities, Tunney said he’s “working on a contribution” from the Cubs to make the group whole.

Sun Times

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