Kenney: Cubs open to Arizona's ideas
MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs president Crane Kenney told ESPNChicago.com on Thursday that the Cubs are in full support of the Arizona legislature and any method that it believes is proper to raise funds for their $84 million facility as well as others in the Cactus League.
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If Arizona chooses to use a ticket tax as part of the state's fundraising, Kenney said the Cubs would have their full support, and the club is willing to pay any tax on their tickets as well.
Kenney said he was concerned that previous quotes were misconstrued as the Cubs saying that they were unwilling to be a part of a Cactus League ticket tax referendum if it is proposed.
The new site will be picked out within 14 days, Kenney told reporters from Chicago on Thursday.
Other Cactus League teams, including the Chicago White Sox, balked at the idea of a ticket surcharge to help fund the Cubs' facility. But Kenney had said there is sufficient money from the city of Mesa and state of Arizona from a rental car tax, as well as other avenues.
"The plan for our facility can be managed through the Mesa property tax referendum that will happen in November, and the car rental tax," Kenney said. "The ticket tax is not needed for what we're building. But ... [Mesa and the state of Arizona] seem to have our needs well in hand."
Kenney said the discussion isn't just about the Cubs.
"They are talking about what the appropriate long term vision is for the Cactus League," he said. "This isn't about the Cubs, this is about the other teams in the league as well."
Kenney also said the Cubs are committed to pay between $20-$30 million to develop a non-baseball area around the facility.
The Cubs are expected to move into the new facility in 2013, a year later than originally estimated.
Other topics Kenney touched on are:
• The Cubs will have a new CFO by April 1;
• The marquee on Wrigley Field at Clark and Addison is getting a facelift;
• The Sheffield Grill, which is a new year-round restaurant at Wrigley, will open April 5;
• Construction on the "Triangle Building" -- which will house front-office headquarters and will house bars, restaurants and possibly a hotel -- should start after this season;
• Funding for the "Triangle Building" and other rehabbing of Wrigley Field could be $200-$300 million over the next four years. The vision is for it to be completed by 2014, which is the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field;
• There will be virtual ads on rooftops during games, perhaps beginning as early as 2011.
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com.