Community weighs in on Wrigley Field renovation plans

Residents of the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field voiced their concerns about the Cubs' renovation plans Monday night.
Residents in the Wrigleyville community had the chance to sound off Monday night on the amended plans to renovate Wrigley Field.

Before the revised plan goes to the landmark commission this week, 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney called a meeting to give the Cubs a chance to explain the plan, as well as to give residents a chance to ask questions or vent. The more than a year-long battle over how to renovate Wrigley could come to a head Thursday when the city's commission on landmarks is set to rule on the Cubs' latest proposed changes, which include adding outfield signs.

It was standing room only at the meeting between Cubs officials and Wrigleyville residents that, at times, became contentious.

"Four months, six months, nine months from now, we're going to be talking about more plans, more signs, more schemes, more concerts, more night events," said Jim Spencer, East Lakeview Neighbors Association.

Many residents fear the proposed renovations to Wrigley Field - to be decided upon by the city's landmarks commission this Thursday - will impact the neighborhood.

"It's going to change the historic aspect of and it make it more like Las Vegas or Times Square," said Mark Weyermuller, Wrigleyville property owner.

"Some of the suggestions fly in the face of what I believe is being a good neighbor," said Ald. Tunney.

The most controversial proposal is the addition of seven new outfield signs, up from the two signs the city approved last year. It comes after months of legal wrangling between the Cubs and rooftop building owners.

"At the end of the day, we were going to get sued over two signs. And we might as well go forward with our original package of seven signs," said Julian Green, Cubs spokesperson.

"This is not a rooftop vs. Cubs issue. It is a community issue. And that's what we can't seem to get across to City Council, the mayor's office, and the media," said Terie Kata, Wrigleyville property owner.

After the Cubs drafted its new proposal for seven signs, rooftop owners offered not to sue if the Cubs reverted to its original two-sign plan, but the Cubs said no.

"It's not about what their new proposal is, and when they gave us the new proposal. This is about acting in the best interest of the Chicago Cubs," said Green.

"I think they're being very aggressive. I think they're saying we want it all," said Former 44th Ward Alderman Bernie Hansen.

In addition to adding signs, the Cubs want to expand the bleachers, though the team says it will not lead to an increase in current fan capacity or traffic on game days.

The Cubs say if the landmarks commission approves the new plan this week, they will move forward with the renovation as soon as possible.


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