Cubs chairman meets with Black community

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Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Chicago Cubs, addressed the Black business community and elected officials Tuesday about the sports organization’s plans to allocate a portion of the construction contracts and other workforce needs to Black contractors

Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Chicago Cubs, addressed the Black business community and elected officials Tuesday about the sports organization’s plans to allocate a portion of the construction contracts and other workforce needs to Black contractors in the Cubs refurbishing efforts of its North Side ball park, Wrigley Field.

An overall plan or legislative proposal, hasn’t been finalized, but Ricketts said a “fair” number of business contracts, mainly infrastructure, will go to Black contractors.

Detailing a public-private funding partnership, Ricketts said revenue from an increased amusement tax at Wrigley will go toward paying back more than $200 million projected 30-year tax-exempt bonds used to improve the park. The Ricketts family would invest private funds in economic development around the park, including a Cubs museum, he said.

Ricketts estimates the public-private funding partnership at about $400 million. The project is expected to generate about 1,000 jobs.

While Ricketts couldn’t give specifics on what percentage of the pie Black contractors would receive, he declined to define what a fair percentage range would be.

“I’d rather give specifics instead of speculating. I don’t have any specifics available at this time,” Ricketts told the Defender.

Elected officials, including State Sens. Mattie Hunter, D-3rd and Kwame Raoul, D-13th, State Rep. Will Davis, D-30th Dist., and Alds. Carrie Austin (34th), Latasha Thomas (17th) and Pat Dowell (3rd) requested Ricketts meet with the state’s legislative Black Caucus, City Council’s Black Caucus and union leaders to get a more detailed picture of how the North Side project will include the Black community.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

Photo Caption: Everett Rand of Midway Wholesalers (left), Larry Huggins of Riteway Construction and Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Chicago Cubs. (Defender/Kathy Chaney)

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