Wrigley plan has fewer signs after National Park Service voices concern

Wrigley Field is a sports treasure undergoing a major renovation.

The Chicago Cubs promise its smooth green lawn, ivy-covered walls and other historic features will go unchanged.

But a Jumbotron is coming, along with five other outfield signs — another video board and four open-backed script signs.

Might seem like a lot to purists, but that total is one less sign after the Cubs reduced proposed signage in the outfield and around the ballpark over concerns of advertising overkill raised by the National Park Service, which recommended the changes.

The Park Service, which controls federal tax breaks the Cubs are seeking in their $375 million renovation of the century-old stadium, has provided scrutiny beyond local authorities on the team’s makeover of Wrigley Field and is not afraid to second-guess decisions made by appointees of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“We were aware that the National Park Service may be more stringent in its approach to the signage,” said Bonnie McDonald, president of Landmarks Illinois, the Chicago-based statewide preservation advocacy group. “That was why we felt comfortable supporting the Cubs’ plan. It had several layers of regulatory review.”

By easing the Park Service’s concerns over advertising, the Cubs are on their way to receiving up to $75 million in federal tax credits they are counting on to upgrade the stadium. Some details are yet to be worked out, such as the final design and color of the outfield signs.

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