Why Wrigley Field changes need to slow down

The proposal would also move the two protected perimeter walls along Waveland and Sheffield avenues back 10 feet. (The city would not be compensated for the sacrificed public space of sidewalks and parking lane.) The convoluted justification for this — No. 1 — assumes the "Jumbotron" and additional overscaled proposed signage will be allowed and — No. 2 — accommodates a dumb contract signed by the Cubs giving neighbors with rooftop seating unobstructed views of games. Supposedly, the moved walls would allow the rooftop viewers to see over the signs. Call it the "Peeping Tom" clause.

If there were no contract, nobody other than 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney would be paying any attention to the rooftop owners.

It's absurd to irrevocably alter a historic structure for a false assumption and a contract Cubs owners would be the first to wish away and that will expire one day.

The Ricketts family touts its largesse. It will cover the entire $300 million proposed renovation to Wrigley. Well, it should. Does the family imagine the Cubs would get the same attendance numbers in Rosemont?

The Rickettses neglect to mention the public contribution they would receive in the form of tax credits. In exchange for responsible historic renovation, the property tax bill on Wrigley could be cut to just 10 percent of its current rate for 10 years, according to the city's landmarks website.

Admission to the National Register of Historic Places for Wrigley that is being sought by the Ricketts would mean additional tax breaks at state and federal levels.

Taxpayers indirectly pick up a big part of the renovation.

That is all to the good. Those credits will not be given lightly, and the more architecture professionals there are at the table negotiating with the Rickettses, the better the renovation and more respectful it will be to Wrigley.

After the negotiations, the landmark commissioners will have their say — five of them sit on the permit review committee and the full commission gets to vote after them. Let's hope, with guidance, they turn in a better performance than they did with Prentice.

Cheryl Kent writes on architecture for the Tribune and other publications. She can be reached at cheryl.a.kent@me.com.