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Nonprofit group ramps up fight against Northwestern’s Ryan Field proposal

The new Ryan Field: not just a football stadium, but a community asset. 🏟️

✅ Evanston at the forefront
✅ World-class amenities
✅ No public [email protected]_Sports | @NUFBFamily pic.twitter.com/WIHwBDXCAw

— Northwestern (@NorthwesternU) December 5, 2022

A group of Evanston residents have formed the nonprofit Most Livable City Association to “amplify their voices and concerns” about Northwestern’s new Ryan Field stadium proposal, according to Brandon Dupre of CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS. This comes after residents felt Northwestern officials “stopped listening.” The group has “raised concerns about Northwestern’s plan to add 12 non-football events or concerts to the calendar.” The group said that the events “will add noise and light pollution, increased drunken behavior, and parking and traffic congestion.” Dupre noted Northwestern in September unveiled plans to “demolish and replace Ryan Field” with a reported $800M project that “shifts the venue’s footprint and sets it up to host other events.” The proposal calls for “no more than 12 additional events a year at Ryan Field, most likely in the summer months.” Evanston City Council member Eleanor Revelle said that the city would have to “add an amendment that would allow for commercial events.” Dupre noted the current zoning “only allows for collegiate and nonprofit events in those stadium areas.” Revelle earlier this year “formed a small working group to represent the residents on the four sides of Ryan Field.” Revelle said that while “not all oppose expanded uses of the new stadium,” a “‘really strong’ number of residents don’ t want to see the school adding concerts and large events that were not strictly collegiate or nonprofit.” She added that the working group’s members were “unanimous in saying they did not want to see any expansion of uses for the stadium” (CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS , 12/5).

HOT BUTTON ISSUES: Most Livable City Associations co-founder David DeCarlo said that Northwestern is proposing “’a tax-exempt booze-and-entertainment center’ that will upset the quality of life in north Evanston and south Wilmette.” Football games are welcomed because the “interruptions are infrequent and mostly fun.” DeCarlo said that the group is “drawing support from many residents, plus nearby businesses on Central Street worried that more stadium crowds would keep everyday patrons away.” In Chicago, David Roeder wrote this issue is “certain to be a hot one, pitting sophisticated citizenry against the town’s premier institution, and one that most Evanstonians appreciate.” Judging from the criticism, Northwestern’s “opening drive on this gridiron was a poorly executed end around” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 12/5).

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