On Thursday afternoon the proposed modernization of Wrigley Field took a big step forward. The Chicago Cubs and the city reached an agreement that will allow the franchise to build an electric Jumbotron and another sign above the outfield walls.
The city’s landmarks commission voted unanimously to approve the deal in the face of opposition from the local alderman and the owners of rooftop businesses who are afraid their negotiated views of the field will be obstructed. The matter will now go before the City Council.
The landmarks commission’s vote was important because the group must approve any changes to the city’s historic structures.
Alderman Tom Tunney, whose ward includes Wrigley Field had the following to say about the new Jumbotron as he asked for the size to be reduced:
“I cannot support a proposal that so dramatically affects the quality of life of my residents. The Cubs often point to large signs at Fenway and U.S. Cellular. Those signs back up to expressways, not people’s homes.”
The Cubs plan to put up a 5,700-square-foot Jumbotron in left field and a 650-square-foot sign in right. The commissioners were concerned that the new additions might change the park too much, taking away from its charm. But they approved them anyway.
The Jumbotron and the right field sign are easily the most contentious issues in the $500 million renovation plan the franchise has been trying to put together since the Ricketts family bought the team in 2009.
The owners of the rooftop businesses are definitely not going to be happy with anything that obstructs their views, since it could put them out of business. Today’s agreement could trigger lawsuits from the owners of those businesses.