01/27/2004 3:44 PM ET
Council approves landmark status
Features of Wrigley Field included in proposal
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- A Chicago city council committee Tuesday unanimously recommended landmark status for certain features of Wrigley Field.
|The ballpark's signature marquee is included in the landmark proposal. (J. Swart/AP)
The council's Committee on Historical Landmarks and Preservation did not issue blanket landmark designation for the 90-year-old ballpark, according to City News Service. Instead, the committee endorsed a proposal to grant landmark status to Wrigley Field's four exterior walls and roofs, the marquee sign at the corner of Clark and Addison streets, the center field scoreboard, the grandstands and bleachers, and the brick wall and ivy surrounding the playing field.
The committee's proposal stated the concourses and concessions would not be subject to review, if the Chicago Cubs decided to alter their design.
Also, minor improvements necessary to normal baseball operations -- such as the installation of broadcast equipment or replacement of seats and railings -- could be done with little or no review by the city.
If approved by the full City Council, the landmark proposal would allow the team to install three rows of seats behind home plate at the stadium. The Cubs hope to install about 200 seats this year with prices ranging from $200 to $250 each per game.
The proposal also allows the team to build a restaurant below the batter's eye in the center field bleacher section now filled with juniper bushes, according to the Department of Planning and Development.
However, the proposal does not address the Cubs' desire to expand the stadium's bleacher area by nearly 2,000 seats or to add additional night games.
Alderman Tom Tunney, who represents the 44th Ward, said the landmark designation would neither permit nor prohibit bleacher expansion. Tunney said only the City Council can approve a bleacher expansion over the sidewalk behind the bleachers. The Landmarks Commission would have the authority to review any approved expansion to ensure the design is compatible with the historic character of the field.
Cubs representatives did not attend Tuesday's meeting.
The Cubs did not support landmark designation for Wrigley Field because of the restrictions it would place on any improvements the team needed to make. Tunney told City News Service that the team did not oppose the proposal for landmark status for the stadium's historic features.
Tunney and three other aldermen whose wards neighbor the ballpark were working with the team on a 15-year neighborhood protection plan that would allow the Cubs to phase in 12 additional night games over the next three years.
The plan would require the Cubs to provide parking at remote sites, free shuttle buses to the remote lots during night and weekend games, and supplemental trash pick-up around the stadium. The team also would provide up to $100,000 for an engineering study on the construction of a permanent Addison Street entrance ramp at Lake Shore Drive and up to $48,000 to purchase three variable traffic message boards to advise motorists approaching the stadium.
"I think the community has done its work on night games," Tunney said. "Now ... we're looking for leadership from the mayor on the final version of it."
No new meeting has been scheduled to discuss the protection plan, Tunney said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. Information from Chicago City News Service was included in this story. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.