Wrigley Renovations: Landmark Commission Meeting Next Week

Jonathan Daniel

There's going to be another meeting next Thursday to discuss the Wrigley renovation proposal. If only the Cubs could have as many hits, runs and wins as there are meetings on this topic.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks is having a special meeting, now scheduled for Thursday, June 27, after the Cubs pushed for such a meeting, likely in order to get the renovation process kickstarted.

There's not much in that link that you don't already know, or haven't already heard. There's the usual statement from the Cubs that they need these things in order to move forward and be competitive, and the usual complaints from neighborhood groups about any number of different things, most of which aren't valid.

Here are a few things you might not have heard before:

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.

Though an LED ribbon board has been rumored to be part of the plan, this is the first time I've seen it in print. It also confirms that the Cubs want more signage inside Wrigley Field.

Personally, I have no objection to a ribbon board. Those are standard features in all new stadiums, and many older ones (Dodger Stadium, for one) have been retrofitted to have such boards. They can provide useful information (the one at Miller Park, for example, has quite a bit of info on it that can't be seen in other places), and of course, they will contain advertising. There's already advertising on the upper-deck facade at Wrigley, so this isn't really anything new.

I believe the Cubs are doing the best they can to preserve and restore the old Wrigley, while bringing in features that make it a financially viable 21st Century sports stadium. That doesn't mean I'm in favor of every single thing the Cubs have proposed -- I think the Jumbotron proposal is too large, and I'm really skeptical about the street changes and closing -- but in general, I think the neighborhood groups, the landmark commission and the city need to step aside and let the Ricketts family spend the $500 million they want to, in order to bring in jobs, fans, and presumably, wins.

Only in Chicago would we have this kind of issue about fixing up a ballpark. Get it done, already.

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