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Cubs get OK to move wall behind home plate

(MCT) — The Chicago Cubs got a green light to move a brick wall at Wrigley Field three feet closer to home plate to add an additional row of 56 seats for the 2013 season.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks's permit review committee approved the plans Thursday by a 5-1 vote.   A portion of the wall will be movable, allowing the field to be used for other types of sports.   

The committee also approved plans to add two new ComEd electrical vaults at the roof level over the right and left field grandstand seats, to increase electrical capacity for the stadium

The approval comes after a number of other renovations at the stadium over the years.

For the 2004 season the Cubs added three rows behind home plate, which also lowered the wall and moved it 10 feet closer to home plate.  And Cubs owners sparked controversy in 2010 when they put up a 360 square-foot sign for Toyota over the left-field bleachers.

"Each of these changes has slowly chipped away at the character of Wrigley Field that let to its landmark designation in the first place," said Allan Mellis, during the public comment period of the meeting.

Few commissioners disapproved of the changes, but they once again pressed Chicago Cubs owners to come up with a long-term plan for renovations at the stadium.

Commissioner Mary Ann Smith said there could be a time when the Commission says they don't want to see any more proposals until such a plan is produced.

 "I mean that could happen...(but) because the Cubs are so beloved we really want to work with you," Smith said.

Michael Lufrano, executive vice president of community affairs and general counsel said the team would like to create a big-picture plan for renovations at the stadium, but said the necessary changes were often hard to predict.

"I'd love to come back to you (and) say this is how it's gonna come together," he said.  "They need to change. They need to evolve."

"Preserving Wrigley Field is important to us."

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