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  1. Thank you so very much for this breakthrough information and sensible commentary. We all know this is a massive ego driven project of a major donor and a University unwilling to say no to his bloated proposal. PS – I am an alum, donor and neighbor.

  2. Totally. The magnitude of the proposed stadium will have capacity much greater than either Rosemont or United Center. The Evanston people don’t understand the economic and quality of life impact that will result from such a HUGE entertainment venue right in the middle of quiet middle class neighborhood. Northwestern should lose their not for profit status as a university if they proceed anyway. This will have huge traffic impact on Skokie and Wilmette and evanston not to mention dealing with drunk and disorderly concert goers that will cause property damage . Residents of Wilmette evanston and Skokie will be severely limited in their ability to to go in and out of their neighborhoods just about every weekend for three months every summer

  3. Thank you for your research and well constructed perspective! This project is to big, onerous and intrusive.

  4. Excellent letter, Ken. It is imperative that people understand what NU is attempting here, and it it nothing short of a hostile takeover of a huge swath of North Evanston, laying waste to a century-plus-old residential neighborhood and replacing it with a profit-generating behemoth hiding behind the non-profit status of a private university already sitting on tens of billions in endowment funds.

    And, for those who think this will benefit Evanston and the neighborhood surrounding Ryan Field, I strongly you advise that you research the “benefits” of placing a public sports stadium in a community. The community almost never benefits to the degree promised from those projects, and almost invariability ends up shouldering far more of the costs than they originally anticipated.

    Anyone who thinks Northwestern is seeking the zoning changes needed to make this project viable to them for any reason other than further lining their already exceedingly well-lined pockets is fooling themselves.

  5. 118 players on the 2022 NU roster. A proposed $800 million will be spent to give 118 NU students a word class football facility. There are roughly 8400 undergrads at NU. In the name of equity, how could this possibly be a good decision and positively reflect on NU? Spend $100 million on upgrading luxury boxes (with a special box for Mr. Ryan–he gets a 65 inch flat screen and a martini bar), take $280 million and use it to the benefit of the 8,280 other under grads attending NU and donate the remaining $100 million to the City of Evanston to finally fund our pensions and atone for the fact that NU hasn’t contributed to the property tax base–ever. We’ll even set aside $10,000 for a bust of Mr. Ryan at the Civic Center.

  6. Paula McKendry said it well. The proposed stadium will be world class and regardless of the building costs, it will not cost tax payers a nickel. This is a gift to the the community. The new stadium will benefit the entire city of Evanston and dwarf the the perceived inconvenience to the stadium neighbors and those that can’t accept that NU is a legitimate not-for-profit.

  7. Thank you for providing this information. It shows how out of sync NU is compared with other universities that have stadiums as old as NU’s. These other universities have made the necessary upgrades and rebuilds for far less and without turning themselves into for-profit entertainment venues. And of course NU is unique among its peers because it’s the only one with a stadium surrounded by residential neighborhoods. NU should be particularly sensitive to the wishes of the neighborhood where it chose to locate its stadium. This is the perfect time for NU to rebuild in a different location — on its main campus away from residential neighborhoods.

  8. If someone looks at Ryan Field and thinks, “a little paint and it will be fine,” I don’t know what to say to them. The sound system stinks, the video and visuals are of high school quality, it looks like a stadium in a parking lot, little green space, the restrooms are inadequate and the seats uncomfortable. On top of it, Ryan Field is just ugly. One might think neighbors would be delighted not to have to look at that eye sore.

    Other Big 10 programs are starting from a better place. Search for rankings of Big 10 stadiums and see that Ryan Field is consistently near the bottom. We need a Ryan Field for the next 100 years, not the last 100 years.

  9. The proposed stadium is privately funded and will generate revenue for the city. It is misleading to suggest that this project will burden Evanston taxpayers. I look forward to a beautiful new facility that is Ada accessible and LEED gold certified designed by a team of world class architects. This will only enhance the value of the homes nearby. Let’s embrace this opportunity for Evanston.

    1. I think the point is that NU could make the financially and environmentally responsible decision to use the entirety of the Ryan family donation to renovate the stadium just like other Big 10 schools achieving the splendor, ADA accessibility, and LEED certification, without spending an excess of $400M dollars. That money could then be thoughtfully contributed to things like lowering tuition, Evanston equity, schools, and affordable housing.

  10. A fine, well-researched opinion piece. Let’s hope Evanston City Council and Northwestern are reading and considering other opinions like this one.

  11. An excellent letter! I hope our Mayor and City Council read the Round Table. And I hope they will address the issues raised in this letter before they vote.
    Mary Anne Wexler

  12. That was well-researched and clearly stated. It is important for anyone voting on this issue to understand that it can be accomplished economically without destroying the neighborhood.

    A Northwestern representative stated that it wasn’t economically feasible without the large number of concerts – if it fails to self-sustain without changing zoning and making part of Evanston unlivable, then that plan is not feasible, period.

  13. Thank you, Ken, for adding useful information to the discussion.

    I own rental property several hundred feet from Ryan Field and I live a little less than a mile west of the stadium, west of Green Bay.

    From my home, I can hear band music and crowd roar on game days and can also sometimes hear music from the outdoor concerts at the American Legion post. I am persuaded that compressing 10-12 concerts into the good weather months will be, at the very least, an aural hardship on the immediate community.

    But, most of all, I simply do not understand why the City of Evanston would allow Northwestern to operate what is for all intents and purposes a for-profit entertainment business and not require it to pay, in perpetuity, the equivalent of what property taxes would be.

    City Council, use your power now, while you can. Once the new stadium is built, it will be much harder to correct problems and, dollars to donuts, NU will request that the number of concerts and events be increased.

  14. This is the best and most succinct comment I have read.
    In the mid 1960’s, after one year of living on Garrison Avenue, south of Isabella, we decided we would look elsewhere when buying a house. Among our considerations were the football games at Ryan Field which some weekends overwhelmed the neighborhood with densely-packed cars with drivers not sufficiently alert to the small neighborhood children on tricycles and roller skates. We didn’t oppose having the Field near our neighborhood (it was part of fall), we just didn’t choose to spend what has turned out to be more than 55 years living near it. The idea of year-round events on the scale contemplated by Northwestern imposing on the surrounding neighborhoods is mind-blowing.

  15. Wow, great research here. Striking comparisons. I had no idea that NU’s plan was so wildly out of scale compared to every other current collegiate stadium project. That’s crazy!

    NU has a well-funded steamroller of a PR campaign going right now. They are making it look like a great deal for Evanston without guaranteeing a dime to the City.

    The Roundtable needs to clarify some of these facts for its public. Interesting that a reader did your research for you. The ball’s in your hands now.