Stadium Debris Liners

The Chicago Cubs have applied for a permit to install a different version of safety netting at 91-year-old Wrigley Field. Last season, netting shielded fans from falling concrete.

The new netting is expected to fit better than the loose mesh installed last year. A plastic barrier underneath the ballpark’s lower grandstand was also said to be in the works.

Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that team officials are prepared to spend anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million on a more sophisticated netting system that’s “closer to the skin of concrete” and matches its color. Apparently, the new netting will be removable yet permanent and less obtrusive. Still, it’s not considered a long-term solution to the problem.

New “debris liners” will be installed in portions of Wrigley’s concourse area, above the ramps that lead to the upper deck and at “a couple of entranceways” leading to the lower boxes, city Buildings Department spokesman Peter Scales told the Sun-Times.

To accommodate Chicago Buildings Commissioner Stan Kaderbeck’s request for yearly hands-on inspections of the stadium’s aging concrete, the netting system will be tailor-made “to allow easy access,” Cubs officials reportedly said.

Meanwhile, a Chicago landmark panel has approved renovation plans to expand Wrigley. The commission of Chicago Landmarks voted to back the Cubs’ plan to add 1,790 bleacher seats to the ballpark and build a nearby parking garage.

The team hopes to begin the expansion this fall, with hopes of completion in time for the 2006 season.