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Tuesday, Jul 29th

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Wrigley Field upgrades approved by Chicago Commission on Landmarks

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Wrigley Field

At the end of the day, the vote wasn't close, as the Chicago Commission on Landmarks unanimously approved the new Wrigley Field renovation plan despite objections from neighbors and rooftop-bleacher owners.

The newest $575-million plan Wrigley Field renovation plan calls for new exterior signage and a realignment of the triangle area at Clark and Addison; greatly expanded clubhouses (the home one would be second-largest in Major League Baseball); four additional 650-square-foot LED signs; 300 bleacher seats and new party areas in back of the bleachers in both left and right field; a new restaurant behind the home dugout, a 2,400-square-foot videoboard in right field; new outfield lights; overhauled restrooms; and relocated bullpens.

The plan has been debated for months and opposed by the rooftop bleacher owners, who threatened litigation, arguing it violates a 2004 agreement between the Cubs and the owners, calling for the team to receive a portion of rooftop revenues ($4 million or so annually. The Cubs say a clause in the contract allows them to make changes and alter agreement if improvements are approved by a city authority -- and the Chicago Commission on Landmarks counts, according to the Cubs.

This approval, however, doesn't mean that the renovation will proceed with seven new signs. With the rooftop owners supporting two new signs and expressing a willingness to come back to the bargaining table in lieu of a lawsuit, the plan could be altered.

Discussion before the commission was mixed, with some residents and Ald. Tom Tunney speaking out against the plan. We were amused by this bit of testimony:

But self-described bleacher bum Trudie Acheatel spoke in favor of the plan.”We need a proper place to go to, it needs to be redone,” she said. “I’ve been waiting a long time for my new bathrooms.”

Work could begin at the end of the season.

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