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Chicago Cubs Want To Clutter Wrigley Field With Jumbo Jumbotron And Signs?

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 1, 2013 2:25PM

The Chicago Cubs revealed renderings of what they hope Wrigley Field will look like if the city and neighborhood groups approve their renovation plan, a plan Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney called a “historic restoration.”

"This is not a renovation,” the Tribune quoted Kenney as saying. “This is not trying to make Wrigley new. It's actually trying to make Wrigley old."

Funny. We hadn’t realized 6,000 square-foot Jumbotrons existed during the “Homer in the Gloamin’” era.

That three-panel video screen and 42,000 square feet of advertising inside Wrigley and surrounding the neighborhood are integral components of the plan. The Cubs have lobbied for months for the city to relax the landmark status on Wrigley Field so they can bankroll the $300 million plan amd a $200 million neighborhood revitalization plan without the use of taxpayer subsidies.

The plan also calls for a 1,000 square foot sign in right field and four new signs ringing the outfield that includes two new LED signs similar to the one currently in right field; a party deck for left field, similar to the one added in right field last year; re-creating green terra-cotta canopies, along with the windows and wrought iron fencing on the exterior of Wrigley Field, similar to how the ballpark looked in the 1930s; and moving the exterior footprint of the ballpark back eight feet to accommodate new bleacher seating.

Kenney and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts are treading lightly with this plan, as it still needs to be vetted in several public hearings. Comcast SportsNet’s David Kaplan reports Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association have not approved of the plans, although Tunney’s recent walking back his opposition to leave his loyal campaign supporters floating in the wind is as solid an indication as any this plan may face minimal resistance.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports the Cubs’ plan will go before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks June 6, “the City Council license committee on a June date to be determined to review the night game ordinance (the Cubs' plan calls for 40 night games a season), the Chicago Plan Commission on July 18, the City Council zoning committee on July 19 to address parking issues and ultimately a full City Council meeting toward the end of July.”

Ricketts stuck to the “restoration” theme at a news conference this morning. Ricketts, for the first time, said he would consider moving the team if the plan is not approved. Ricketts said the revenue expected to be generated from the proposed video screens and signage is absolutely necessary for the renovation plan to work.

“I’m not sure how anyone is going to stop any signs in the outfield,” said Ricketts as he made his first public sales pitch for a planned $300 million Wrigley Field renovation. “If it comes to the point that we don’t have the ability to do what we need to do in our outfield, then we’re going to have to consider moving.”

RIcketts followed by saying it wasn't a threat and that he's "confident in the legality of our signage plan." Emanuel said he's not concerned and that the plan is now "about going forward into the planning process, with those … big questions answered."

Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens floated a plan in March to give the Cubs 25 acres to develop.