Board OKs Toyota Sign at Wrigley; Alderman Says No

Ald. Tom Tunney breaks neutrality, says sign requires city approval.

By Matt Bartosik
|  Friday, May 7, 2010  |  Updated 12:17 PM CDT
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PHOTOS: Opening Day at Wrigley Field

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CHICAGO - MAY 16: A general view of Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs take on the Houston Astros on May 16, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Astros 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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The Commission on Chicago Landmarks Thursday reviewed Cubs owner Tom Ricketts' controversial proposal for a Toyota advertisement placed over Wrigley Field's left field bleachers.

The Commission said OK, but Ald. Thomas Tunney (44th), whose ward includes the ballpark, said no.

"I do not currently support the placement of a 360-square-foot Toyota sign in Wrigley Field as it is not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood or with the spirit of the city's landmarks ordinance," Tunney said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

He contends the advertisement requires city approval due to its size.  And without his support, that approval could be in doubt.

"I believe it needs a City Council order because the sign is over 100 square feet and more than 24 feet above grade," Tunney told the Sun-Times last weekend.

At the time, Tunney said he was remaining neutral on the issue and was simply "worried about making sure that the process is followed correctly."

The illuminated 16-by-22-foot logo has been a topic of debate for about two months now. Cubs fans are accustomed to the numerous rooftop ads, but the seemingly random placement of the Toyota ad seems garish and awkward to many.

Tunney had previously told the Chicago Tribune he'd like the bright red sign to "be a little more modest."

Modest. You know, just like Cubs fans.

Pierce Hutchings, a 35-year-old Wrigleyville resident, went so far as to pay several dozen people to "protest" outside Wrigley Field and hand out flyers, according to Time-Out Chicago.

"I just think the sign would ruin the historic quality of Wrigley Field," Hutchings told TOC. "First it's a sign and what's next, a JumboTron?"

But despite the "fauxtestors" (coined by TOC), plans for the giant Toyota sign had moved forward. 

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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