The Chicago Cubs Screwed Over Disabled People And Are Getting Sued For It
In addition to being 20 games under .500 for the 2022 season, the Chicago Cubs are being sued because their massive 2014 remodel of Wrigley Field does not meet ADA compliance.
Tom Ricketts bought the Cubs in 2009 from the Tribune Company, but the new "era" of the Chicago Cubs didn't really begin in earnest until 2014. That's about when Theo Epstein's plan was starting to come into focus.
The park was buzzing again. It seemed, unlike burgeoning Cubs teams of the past, that this team might be headed towards something special.
Wrigleyville as a whole began to change (some, like me, would say for the worse.) Wrigleyville began to resemble The Mall of America instead of the neighborhood ballpark vibe that Cub fans had grown accustomed to over the past several decades.
Along with the Wrigleyville reimagining, Wrigley Field itself was slated for a major overhaul.
And it absolutely needed it. Let's not ever forget about the netting that had to be put up at the park to protect fans in the lower deck from crumbling concrete. I love Wrigley Field but before the renovations, the place was kind of a dump. It was old, literally falling apart, the concourse was agonizingly small, and most importantly to the Cubs it seems, there weren't any cool places inside the park that people with a ton of money could go to for an elite ballgame experience.
This was celebrated by fans, players, and owners alike. It looked like the Cubs might be headed for a special season and it was going to be nice to be able to enjoy it in a stadium that wasn't a dump.
Perhaps the excitement surrounding the Cubs in 2014 made the organization look over some details in the renovation because it turns out they could be in a bit of trouble.
Chicago's U.S. Attorney's office has sued the Chicago Cubs over their non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
SunTimes - The lawsuit alleges that, amid the renovation of the century-old ballpark, the Cubs failed to provide wheelchair users with adequate sightlines compared to standing patrons, or incorporate wheelchair seating in new premium club and group seating areas.
Handicap accessibility is something that you don't really think about until you have to and then it's all you think about. My mom has MS and is in a wheelchair. Whenever we go somewhere new, it's the number one thing we look at. Will mom be able to come here?
And it's a lot more than making sure no one has to take stairs. We need pathways, wide and smooth enough, to handle a wheelchair. Are there any low tables for her to sit at? What's the whole bathroom situation? It's a lot to think about.
I can't speak for all families with special needs, but I have found that most don't expect to able to access EVERYTHING a location has, especially when dealing with small companies that simply might not be able to afford full handicap accessibility, but when a billion dollar company makes a multi-million dollar development, they would like to be at least considered.
It seems like the Cubs didn't consider anyone handicapped, and even worse, took away some previously accessible areas to make way for new ballpark amenities.
They wrote that “the Cubs removed the best wheelchair seating in the stadium” and “failed to incorporate wheelchair seating into new premium clubs and group seating areas.”
The feds say the Cubs designed and constructed general admission wheelchair seating so that it is largely clustered in the last row of seating sections — violating ADA standards — and failed to remove architectural barriers in unaltered portions of Wrigley where possible.
This is a developing story, and the Cubs have not had any comment yet. Hopefully, they will see where they erred and correct it as soon as possible.
The Cubs haven't done much right over the last few years, let's hope they don't fumble this one (again.)
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