One unfortunate side effect to offseason renovations from the Chicago Cubs: Wrigleyville residents say demolition of the iconic Wrigley Field bleachers has unleashed a plague of rats in the surrounding neighborhood.
Construction projects like this, of course, always cause inconvenience for local residents, and the Cubs have taken some steps to mitigate that impact, like opening team parking lots to locals whose street parking is temporarily gone. And there are some issues, like construction noise, that simply can’t be avoided: it takes a lot of big trucks to bring in concrete and other building supplies.
But the issue with the rats seemed to be unanticipated by all involved. From the Chicago Tribune:
“The rats have been running rampant. I’m not kidding you,” said local resident Terie Kata. “There are people in the alley and there are still rats running around and it’s daylight.”
Kata and her neighbors took it upon themselves to get rid of the rats. Kata said she went through 12 packs of rat poison quickly. Thomas Findlay, who lives nearby, said he and another neighbor hired a private exterminator to get rid of the vermin on their properties. While Findlay said he isn’t 100 percent sure the renovations caused the rat problem, the timing is suspect.
“We’ve never experienced anything like what we’ve seen the last 12 months,” Findlay said. “We’ve had rats almost on a daily basis walking all around the neighborhood. In the streets, on the sidewalks, on people’s porches.”
Now, it’s hard to argue that all these rats once lived in Wrigley Field: the more likely explanation is that construction changes sealed up some underground routes frequented by the rats, forcing them above ground. The Cubs say they’ve worked with the city on mitigating the impact of rats, but at the end of the day it’s an issue for government to address.