CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s City Council gave final approval Wednesday to a $500 million renovation of historic Wrigley Field that includes its first massive Jumbotron, improved facilities for the players in the bowels of the 99-year-old ballpark and a hotel across the street.
Under the plan, the Chicago Cubs would erect a 5,700-square-foot electronic Jumbotron in left field above the ivy-covered outfield walls that is roughly three times as large as the iconic manual scoreboard in center field, as well as another large advertising sign in right field.
The Cubs, which waited decades to install lights at Wrigley, have been pushing for renovations since the Ricketts family bought the team in 2009. After an effort to get public help for the project failed, the Cubs said the team would fund the entire renovation — but it needed the signs and the advertising revenue they would generate to help pay for it.
The City Council’s voice vote in favor of the plan came a day after the council’s zoning committee signed off on the deal with the blessing of the alderman whose ward includes the ballpark. Alderman Tom Tunney’s support was considered crucial to the project that Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants approved. Tunney initially said the signs would harm the quality of life in the neighborhood around Wrigley, but he signed off on the deal after winning concessions from the Cubs. Among them was an agreement not to erect any outfield signs in addition to the Jumbotron and right field sign and to indefinitely postpone a proposed bridge over the adjoining Clark Street.