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Wrigley outfield signage unanimously approved

Wrigley outfield signage unanimously approved

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Wrigley outfield signage unanimously approved

CHICAGO -- The Commission on Chicago Landmarks Thursday unanimously approved two outfield signs that are key to Wrigley Field's renovation plan, including a video scoreboard for left field.

The Cubs made compromises since the matter was last discussed by the commission. Instead of a 6,000-square foot video scoreboard in left field, the Cubs say they will accept a 4,560-square foot scoreboard. The Jumbotron will be 95 feet wide, not 100 feet. Instead of installing a 1,000-square foot see-through sign in right, the Cubs were willing to install a 650-square foot see-through sign.

Alderman Tom Tunney had demanded the Cubs reduce the size of the signage in response to complaints from rooftop owners. Tunney, who represents the Lake View neighborhood the ballpark is located in, gave an emotional statement at the meeting.

The Chicago Sun-Times said the compromise on the signage came after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stepped in and brokered negotiations between the Cubs and Tunney.

Last month, the Landmarks Commission approved a master plan for 45,000 square feet of new or existing Wrigley signage, but did not approve the proposed scoreboard or sign the Cubs wanted in left and right fields, respectively.

The signage will help pay for the $500 million renovation plan the Ricketts family has planned for Wrigley Field that includes a hotel on Clark and Addison Streets. The remodel will take five years, and not interrupt play at the 99-year-old ballpark.

Thursday's decision clears the way for the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council to consider the full plan to renovate Wrigley field and redevelop land in the Wrigleyville area. The Plan Commission meets next week.

The video scoreboard will be nearly three times the size of Wrigley's current center-field scoreboard. The commission approved a script see-through sign for right field that will be about 80 percent larger than the current Toyota sign now in left.

Cubs vice president Mike Lufrano said Thursday the team wanted six outfield signs, but dropped that number in deference to Tunney, owners of the rooftop clubs surrounding the ballpark, and the community. Lufrano said the revenue from the new advertising will help pay for the renovations and "keep Wrigley Field competitive for modern-day baseball."

Tunney argued the signs were too close to the homes in the neighborhood.

"The Cubs often point to large signs at Fenway, at U.S. Cellular and other [stadiums]," Tunney said. "Those signs back up to expressways, not other people's living rooms."

The Landmark Commission heard testimony during Thursday's five-hour hearing, ranging from residents to rooftop club owners.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and Emanuel want the deal approved by the end of July so construction can begin this offseason.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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