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Wrigley Field Night Game Increase Passes City Council Unanimously

By Serena Dai | June 5, 2013 5:41pm
 The Cubs released renderings on April 30 of the proposed Jumbotron in left field, the hotel across the street and other changes in the neighborhood around Wrigley Field. 
Cubs Release Renderings of Jumbotron, Hotel
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CITY HALL — The Cubs can officially play up to 40 night games without additional approval from the city.

The City Council on Wednesday voted 50-0 to pass the night game ordinance that had been approved by a committee Tuesday, allowing the team to schedule 35 night games and play five more in case of Major League Baseball requirements. The team can also play six Friday 3:05 p.m. games, and have the option of requesting six more night games from the city if MLB asks.

Wrigley Field can also host up to four concerts a year as part of the ordinance.

Approval for Friday 3:05 games starts this season, and team representatives told neighbors Tuesday that they may schedule four this year, with two in July and two in August. 

Previously, the team could schedule 27 night games and hold three in reserve, but had no Friday 3:05 games due to a compromise reached in 2003. At the beginning of the negotiation process, the team asked for 54 night games, the league average, and 12 Friday 3:05 games.

The limit went up despite opposition from community groups, whose members lined up to dissent at Tuesday's committee meeting. Despite their protests, "we still lost," said resident Jim Spencer at an East Lake View Neighbors meeting Tuesday evening.

But Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel called it a good compromise for the community and the team.

"This framework is a win-win for everyone involved," Emanuel said in a statement.

Passage of the night game ordinance is the first of many points involved in a complex negotiation to ease restrictions on the century-old field. The team also wants to add signage, build a hotel and develop an open-air plaza as part of a $500 million plan to renovate the field and outside neighborhood.

The planned development process will require further approval from city committees and community input.

Moving forward, neighborhood groups plan to dissect the plan and tell the alderman what current restrictions on the Cubs they view as non-negotiable.

"We would enjoy the opportunity to have pointed questions about the project asked to [team officials ... ] or the traffic firm," team spokesman Julian Green told neighbors. "I think that’s where the constructive conversation happens."

DNAinfo City Hall reporter Ted Cox contributed to this report.

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