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After lawsuit, Wrigley includes more wheelchair seating in latest renovations

Wrigley Field | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Following an American Disabilities Act lawsuit filed last year, recent renovations to Wrigley Field will include more wheelchair accessible seats, said Cubs spokesman Julian Green.

Green declined to comment on the suit, but said as renovations wrap up, “Wrigley Field is expected to have more than the number of accessible wheelchair spaces located in many more locations in the ballpark than before the renovation.” There are also more elevators and more accessible bathrooms.

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That’s good news to some fans, because previous construction ended up in a loss of seating in the bleachers and behind home plate, the suit claimed. The suit, filed by the father of a fan with a form of muscular dystrophy, said the seating was moved farther away from the field and left fans without a clear view of the field when other fans stood up.

The changes, the suit said, violated accessibility laws that require wheelchair spaces “be an integral part of the seating plan” with locations and views are equivalent to or better than those enjoyed by other spectators.

Adam Ballard, a policy analyst for local disability advocacy organization Access Living, said the team has come a long way from when he attended his first Cubs game as a teenager in the early ’90s.

“We had to take a rickety old wheelchair lift and you could tell that accessibility wasn’t a big thing at that time,” Ballard said.

He hopes the new additions will include seats throughout all sections of the stadium.

“Creating access is an ongoing process,” said Ballard. “ … As the Sox, Cubs or any other sports teams in the city move forward on plans for accommodations, they should make sure they are including our community.”