Neighbors fear ‘process being rushed’ on Wrigley rehab
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org
Artist rendering of the Wrigley Field outfield signs and renovations during dusk
Under pressure from the Cubs, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks on Thursday called a special meeting for next week to consider the massive influx of stadium signage needed to renovate Wrigley Field without a public subsidy.
“The process is being rushed. There needs to be a full vetting,” said Jill Peters, president of the Southport Neighbors Association.
“We have concerns about the amount of signage. It’s not reasonable to demand these public meetings when the community process hasn’t been completed.”
Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the team requested the June 27 special meeting because it needs quick approval from the Landmarks Commission to pave the way for construction to begin as soon as the regular season ends.
“If we can’t, this project could be at risk,” he said.
As for demands by local Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Wrigleyville residents to keep negotiating, he said, “We need a 6,000-square-foot video scoreboard in left field and a 1,000-square-foot sign in right because that will help us get the resources we need — especially when the Ricketts family is investing $500 million of their own personal money without public support.”
Landmarks Commission member Mary Ann Smith, a former lakefront alderman, said Thursday she’s not certain how she plans to vote on the proposed changes to 99-year-old Wrigley.
In addition to the Jumbotron in left and the see-through sign in right, the Cubs want: an LED “ribbon board” along the upper-deck grandstand; a new fan deck in left field with signs; new signs on the right-field wall and behind home plate and a two-story Captain Morgan Club with even more signs.
Despite the landmark designation that covers Wrigley’s “historic elements,” the Cubs plan would also give the team “discretion on all signage inside the ballpark not impacting rooftops” and authorization to take out a lane of parking on Waveland and a sidewalk on Sheffield to extend the right- and left-field walls outward to minimize the impact of outfield signs on rooftop views.
The Cubs also want the go-ahead to restore Wrigley’s 1930s terracotta roof line and replace concrete slabs and chain-link fences with brick and ornamental iron.
“I love Wrigley Field. I want to make sure it’s handled well. I want to hear about impacts on the community,” Smith said.
“I haven’t had a detailed presentation of what the proposal is. I’ve read many different versions and seen many different cartoons. Cartoons may be the most useful. But I still don’t know what they’re gonna put in front of us. Until I do, I won’t know how I’m going to vote.