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posted: 5/2/2013 5:42 PM

Naperville not likely option for Cubs

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  • Naperville Mayor George Pradel greeted Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts last spring when Ricketts spoke to the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. But the mayor says the chances of the Cubs ever relocating to Naperville are remote.

       Naperville Mayor George Pradel greeted Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts last spring when Ricketts spoke to the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. But the mayor says the chances of the Cubs ever relocating to Naperville are remote.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

Naperville is regularly ranked among the country's most family friendly cities. There are four restaurants in town considered "pet-friendly." Heck, even Mayor George Pradel once was known as "Officer Friendly."

But don't expect the city to ever house the "Friendly Confines," despite threats made Wednesday by Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts to move his team out of Wrigley Field if plans for a big, new video screen are blocked.

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Naperville officials said Thursday they don't believe the Cubs will be leaving the North Side in the foreseeable future, but stressed they are always open to new "entertainment" ideas.

Pradel, still stinging from the late 1990s when he believes the city was used as a pawn by the Chicago Bears, said he would be leery of entertaining overtures from another sports franchise.

"Wow! Where would we even put them?" asked Pradel. "The Bears threatened to bring a stadium to the south end of town, around 95th Street, way back when, but it turns out they were just playing games with Chicago. After already going through that, I'm not sure I'd spend the money to even see if it was feasible."

Bill Novak, director of the city's Transportation, Engineering and Development Group, said he also doesn't think there's space in Naperville for a new ballpark.

"We have a very small handful of 20- to 30-acre lots, but is there one that's a proper fit? I don't know," Novak said. "But if a serious offer were on the table, we'd gladly find out."

City Manager Doug Krieger, a proud White Sox fan, may be screening his phone calls, should the Cubs ever actually express some interest.

"Personally, I would have been more excited to get a call from (White Sox owner) Jerry Reinsdorf than from the Ricketts family. However, we would welcome any significant entertainment options to this area," Krieger said. "The challenges would be to ensure they were a good fit and best overall for the community."

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