Ald. Tunney suggests replacing Wrigley scoreboard with Jumbotron - New York News

Ald. Tunney suggests replacing Wrigley scoreboard with Jumbotron

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney is backpedaling from reports that he wants to replace Wrigley Field's historic scoreboard with a Jumbotron.

Sources close to the Wrigley Field renovation say Tunney pitched the idea in order to protect the owners of rooftop businesses outside the ballpark.

Perched atop the center field bleachers since 1937, the massive, hand-operated scoreboard is one of the most iconic features of Wrigley Field. It was built by another Chicago baseball icon, Bill Veeck.

Fans at Wrigley were surprised to learn that Tunney had proposed replacing the old scoreboard with a new video sign board.

The pitch came during negotiations between the Cubs and the city over plans by the Ricketts family to spend $300 million of their own money to give the 99-year-old ballpark a major facelift.

Sources say Alderman Tunney suggested the new video board as a way to raise advertising revenues inside the park, without blocking the views of rooftop businesses across the street--which contribute heavily to his campaign.

Tunney avoided reporters Wednesday, but released a statement: "...replacing (the scoreboard) with a video board is just one of the many ideas that have been on the table. It was discussed in earnest by all parties and dismissed."

Tunney and the city are under increasing pressure to cut a deal after Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens said earlier this week he would provide land and infrastructure for a new Cubs stadium in the northwest suburbs.

While aldermen are generally allowed to call the shots on development issues in their ward--a custom called "aldermanic privilege"--former alderman Dick Simpson says the stakes are too high for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"Emanuel wants it to go ahead, and he will make sure it does," Simpson says. "If Tunney tries to stand in the way, the mayor will eventually overrule him."

Simpson says the ideal situation is to cut a deal the alderman, the mayor and the Cubs can all stand behind. We're told those negotiations will resume in earnest when the mayor returns from vacation next week.

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