5/14 New Wrigley Field website

Fans interested in tracking the renovation of Wrigley Field and showing their support for the ballpark’s restoration can follow the progress on a new website, WrigleyField.com, which the Cubs launched on Tuesday.

The site, titled “Restore Wrigley Field,” gives fans a chance to view artist’s renderings of the proposed changes to the 99-year-old ballpark. Plus, fans are encouraged to sign a petition to let the team, the city and community know they back the renovation.

The website, which will be linked to Cubs.com, outlines the $500 million plan that the Ricketts family has proposed for Wrigley Field and the surrounding area, including the addition of a hotel at Clark and Addison where the McDonald’s restaurant is currently located. There are drawings of the plaza proposed for Clark Street next to the ballpark, and the new restaurant at Addison and Sheffield streets. The renovation will be conducted over five offseasons, and updates will be provided on the new website.

Have you missed the initial announcements? There is a “Frequently Asked Questions” section that covers all the topics, including whether the Cubs will have to play elsewhere — they will not — and the economic impact on Chicago and the region. According to the Cubs, the project will create approximately 2,100 new jobs, including 1,300 permanent and 800 construction jobs.

What should be encouraging to Cubs fans is that the design plan was formed using preservation architects who have worked on Fenway Park, the Rose Bowl, Camden Yards and Lambeau Field. The goal is to return Wrigley Field to its 1930s grandeur but make it much more functional. The Cubs will use recycled materials in the restoration, install energy-efficient water and heating and air conditioning systems, and make Wrigley as environmentally efficient as possible.

The changes also will make it a better fan experience. When the Ricketts family purchased the Cubs and the ballpark in October 2009, they stressed that one of their goals was to preserve Wrigley Field. The proposed renovation will restore the facade of the ballpark and replace aging concrete and steel, which is needed to keep Wrigley Field operating for years to come.

The site also includes drawings of the proposed 6,000-square foot video scoreboard projected for left field as well as the 1,000-foot advertising sign projected for right field.

Want to show your support? You can sign a petition on the new website, adding your name to the list of backers who feel this is a “win for the Chicago economy, the Lakeview community, Cubs fans and the team.” There’s a phone number so you can call 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney and tell him why Wrigley Field is special to you and why the restoration is necessary. You also can join the community campaign and receive email updates on the project.

– Carrie Muskat

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