Our last check in with Wrigley Field renovation-related items was a particularly contentious one for the parties involved. If you recall, Wrigleyville bar owners are lobbying to tighten the restriction on liquor sales within the plaza, so that it doesn’t negatively affect their business, in the immediate area. The Cubs’ owners, on the other hand, would like to be treated the same way as other businesses in their neighborhood. There doesn’t seem to be a simple, black and white answer, so this discussion might continue for a while.
Today’s check in, though, covers relatively small changes to an actually very recognizable part of Wrigley Field: the red marquee.
During the renovation work at the end of last season, the marquee was taken down when construction teams were renovating the main gate to the ballpark. You may have seen the conspicuous blank space if you’ve driven by the park.
So, the Cubs have proposed a marquee make-over, if you will, to the permit review committee of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. For the most part, everyone’s on board with the proposed changes.
However, this wouldn’t be a Cubs renovation story if there wasn’t at least a little bit of disagreement. In this case, it’s about that LED screen. The Landmarks Commission itself recommended that the screen be updated to match the size and general appearance of the marquee, but the Cubs want to take it a bit further than that. The commission voiced an opinion wary of drastic changes*, and you can read the details in the Crain’s article.
It doesn’t sound like there’s going to be a huge fight here, as the Cubs aren’t looking to do anything drastic with the sign, and they’ll want to keep the classic look they’ve always had (see, for example, how they’ve handled the video boards inside the ballpark). But if you’re going to update the sign, you might as well modernize the LED board, too, to increase options.
Still, the Commission would not approve a different look for the LED board just yet, so if the Cubs want to have more optionality there, it sounds like they’ll have to develop a specific plan and head back before the Commission at some point.
*(One bit: Commissioner Ernest Wong attempted to described the extent of the LED board changes with a metaphor, and it turned out to be hilarious: “It’s not just Pac-Man, anymore, now you have Mortal Combat.” Mortal Combat, it seems, is the current state of video graphics in 2016.)
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.