As a suburbanite and White Sox fan, I'm quite enjoying the Shakespearean drama over the Ricketts' family plan to renovate Wrigley Field and juice up the neighborhood with a hotel and other developments in the oh-so-precious Wrigleyville neighborhood.
The Ricketts family wants to sink $300 million into the decrepit Cubs ball yard, and another $200 million for the neighborhood without tapping us taxpayers for any of it. Personally, I'd start over: bulldoze the "beautiful family picnic grounds" as Jack Brickhouse used to call it when the club couldn't draw enough fans to open the upper deck. But then, I don't have this fantasy about what a great place it is to see a ballgame when you've paid $$$$$$ to land in a seat behind a pillar.
As a suburbanite, I constantly hear cityphiles criticize the lawns, low density, peacefulness, security, monotony and narrow-mindedness of my peers. I hope that Wrigleyville doesn't harbor any of those critics, because it would be hypocritical of them. Wrigleville is everything that cityphiles praise and nothing like those detestable suburbanites. Diversity; access to public transportation; mixed-use development and density. Especially the latter; Wrigleyville is reportedly Chicago's densest neighborhood.
But when it comes to Wrigleyville, many of its residents seem to have suburban tastes. They're not excited about the hustle and bustle of the ball park's crowds; they'd prefer the quite of residential streets. I read one of the residents objections to the renovation: we're hear long before the yuppie crowds filled the ballpark with crowds, implying that she had a right to have low crowds in perpetuity.
Jeez, maybe they should move to the suburbs. Imagine if the Cubs accepted Rosemont's invitation to move out to O'Hareland. Wrigleyville's residents should think about what would replace it. The land is so expensive that the "highest and best" use would have to be a dense, traffic generating complex. Hey, they like the city, so they should prefer Wrigley Towers. (Like the photo right.)
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