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Wrigley neighbors: We don’t want ballpark upgrades

Wrigley Field

Not that this is unusual, but Wrigleyville residents expressed their opposition to proposed changes to Wrigley Field, including new signage, at a community meeting last night.

Sponsored by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), the meeting featured over 100 Lake View residents opposed to the plan to add new exterior signage, greatly expanded clubhouses (the home one would be second-largest in Major League Baseball), four additional 650-square-foot LED signs, 300 bleacher seats, a new restaurant behind the home dugout, a 2,400-square-foot videoboard in right field; new outfield lights; and relocated bullpens. The biggest issue: more light and sound pollution from the ballpark:

Some residents say they are worried about potential lighting issues, new sound problems, and the content of the seven signs the Cubs want to pass.

“There’s still no certainty, no definition, no commitments,” said nearby resident Terie Kata said. “The lighting and the sounds from the signage, they have refused to commit to any kinds of restrictions.”

But the Cubs say they’ve been good stewards of Wrigley Field and the surrounding neighborhood.

“As a result of the planned expansion last year, we’ve put more security personnel on the street, we have offered 1,000 free parking spots, which is unheard of in professional sports, we’ve also bought and purchased more street lights on Clark to help alleviate traffic and congestion,” [Cubs spokesperson Julian] Green said. “This is America, not everyone is happy. No matter what changes we make, someone is not going to be happy.”

The Cubs say the proposed changes fit within the guidelines of a Wrigley Field renovation plan already approved by the city:

“We’re not prepared to lose another year and jeopardize delivering on the promises we made to our players, our fans and our [advertising] partners,” Green said then.

“We believe the revised expansion plan fits within the guidelines of the Landmarks Commission. We’re confident we’ve addressed all of the outstanding issues and should be going through with our revised plan on July 10,” Green said then. “We took the widening of the bullpen doors off the table. The only material change was those doors.”

The Cubs are presenting the plan to the Landmarks Commission on July 10.

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