CHICAGO -- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is asking the state of Illinois to help finance more than $200 million in renovations at Wrigley Field. In a letter to season ticket holders and Wrigleyville residents, Ricketts said the Illinois General Assembly will be considering a bill to preserve Wrigley Field. The plan will allow a portion of future city and county amusement taxes, paid entirely by Cubs fans, to be invested directly in the preservation of the ballpark. A bill is being drawn up that will be considered in the veto session that begins next week. "The plan is fair, simple, and solves the problem," Ricketts said in the letter. "Most importantly, it will not increase taxes paid by Cubs fans or anyone else and will not create any new taxes."
If approved, the Cubs will undertake more than $200 million in renovations to Wrigley Field in the next five years and the Ricketts family will invest a comparable amount in neighborhood development. "We have an opportunity in this upcoming legislative session to begin the process of renovating and restoring Wrigley Field and securing its continued future contributions to the Lakeview economy," Ricketts said in the letter. The Ricketts have created an email for supporters at RENOVATEWRIGLEY@cubs.com. In 2009, the Cubs paid $16.1 million in amusement taxes to the city of Chicago and Cook County through a 12 percent levy on each ticket, the team said. The city and county will be guaranteed this amount for the duration of the bonds. Any growth in amusement taxes beyond the $16.1 million -- through increased ticket sales or prices -- will be redirected to pay the bonds. The Ricketts purchased the Cubs from the Tribune Co. in October 2009 for $845 million. Ricketts said they spent $10 million on upgrades last offseason but the ballpark needs a longterm investment.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.