All of a sudden, there could be a very important meeting and vote on the Wrigley Field renovation project coming as soon as next week.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that, at the request of the Chicago Cubs, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks has scheduled a special meeting next week to consider the proposed changes to Wrigley Field that touch upon its landmarked aspects. Specifically, the Commission would be considering the outfield signage (JumboTron and see-through sign in right field), moving the outfield walls to accommodate that signage, additional signage within the ballpark, and various restorations to the exterior of the ballpark.
If you want to be annoyed by neighborhood folks complaining about the Cubs implementing signage within the ballpark, and want to hear Alderman Tom Tunney saying things like “my goal is less signage everywhere,” by all means read the Sun-Times piece. I’m semi-kidding, because the piece also includes interesting – but noncommittal – thoughts from one member of the Commission.
It’s unclear exactly what, if anything, the Commission will vote upon next week, but I’m guess that, since the Cubs are pushing for a special meeting, it’s going to be something. Reviewing the Commission’s web site, it looks like the next planned meeting wasn’t until July 11 – so apparently those two weeks make a big difference to the Cubs. If that’s true, I’d expect some news to come out of the meeting. If the Commission approves the Cubs’ plans, I believe there would still be aspects requiring City Council approval, but things would be looking good. For the Cubs’ part, they’ve long said that, unless this approval process moves rapidly, they cannot have the confidence they need to start work immediately after this season ends.
Taking the political temperature, I’d point out the following: last week, Tom Ricketts met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, where it was reported that Emanuel agreed to “fast track” the renovation approvals – at least with respect to the changes to Wrigley Field, itself (i.e., the stuff within the ambit of the Commission). The Landmarks Commission has nine members who are appointed by … the Mayor.
I am cautiously optimistic about the outcome of this meeting.