Dear Seventh Ward Council Member Eleanor Revell,
While I’m not a Seventh Ward resident myself, my family has lived just next door in the Sixth Ward for 23 years. I’m also a Northwestern University grad.
My biases now on the table, I’d like to ask that you stand up and demand more from my alma mater than the $5 million each year they’re offering. That is a drop in the bucket to NU, a Top 10 school with a $15 billion endowment.
Also important during these discussions about this new stadium is parking, a topic about which I’ve seen very little written. There are certainly plans for buses from remote parking during the football season, but so far, no mention of how they’ll handle that issue during the music venues in the works.
Rowdy concertgoers will turn out to be a completely different breed from the relatively quiet footballers, I think. Will Evanston’s already depleted police force and sanitation crews really be able to handle what may be heading their way? Why not ask NU to add an underground parking structure during the buildout?
The university’s poll claims three-quarters of the residents in your ward welcome this project. Really? I find it so hard to believe folks within half a mile of the stadium are so willing to cede their relatively peaceful neighborhood to NU concertgoers every month … people who will be able to leave the noise and mess they’ve created once the concerts are over. Is your ward and the eastern end of the Sixth Ward really that excited over the chaos this is going to cause?
I’m very grateful for the education I received at NU many decades ago, but it’s time this city stopped kowtowing for the crumbs the university seems to toss our way.
But this entire project doesn’t sound like it was ever much of a negotiation to me. Could it be that the NU folks realize the city is struggling financially and assume $5 million might sound like a bonanza to some city council members?
If it stands to be so financially sound, why not tell the university the city wants 10% of what the new stadium takes in, in addition to the $5 million? My guess is the city will need it in order to keep Sixth and Seventh Ward residents calm in the future.
All I’m really pleading for is that you and the rest of the council don’t roll over to NU’s demands so easily.
Corner of Pioneer Road and Grant Street
I live 2 blocks south of the stadium and am also heavily invested in a business on Central Street. Many of my neighbors on Ashland, Colfax and Lincoln are excited for the rebuild as are many businesses on Central Street. We’ve all lived in a peaceful coexistence with NU for years; I don’t expect that to change because they
are good neighbors! That said, I wonder why you’ve only included the 6th& 7th Wards in your letter? Are you aware of the positive impact this will bring to our neighbors in the 5th Ward and beyond? Have you attended any meetings and listened to minority residents opinions and concerns? I would guess not. From an equity viewpoint, this letter is really offensive to me!
Thank you Kelly speaking up and sharing the excitement that many of us feel about this new arena proposal.
I absolutely do not believe the poll from NU. When last year’s Dillo Day was announced the City of Evanston had to bring in additional private security and medic services. This was challenging for our already understaffed police department, to say the least. Dillo Day, as reported in the Roundtable on May 18 2002, draws about 12,000 people. What NU wants to do in their proposal is bring in substantially more than 12,000 people for events apparently scheduled at night with people driving here from the surrounding communities, drinking, then driving home at night! Please – Just Say No!
Here’s an idea for NU. Hang onto Ryan Field for a few years, don’t invest another dime, then move Chicago’s Big Ten team to Soldier Field after the Bears leave. The Sixth and Seventh ward residents will be quite happy. No traffic. No people. Plenty of parking for dinner parties. Many inform us that Central Street businesses complain about game day traffic, so apparently they won’t mind. Since you allegedly pay a pittance from events, pay that pittance to Chicago. Run a shuttle service from the campus and various places from Evanston to Soldier Field. According to “the experts,” we aren’t going to patronize local restaurants anyway. And, you won’t place demand on Evanston’s services because you won’t be here. You get to play in a place that doesn’t embarrass the school when the huge new fans bases come in from USC and UCLA in a few years. Chicago (your other hometown) gets to show itself and earn extra revenue from visitors it doesn’t have to support. The Ryan Field neighbors get peace and quiet. Lots and lots of quiet.
Yes, you leave a hulking monstrosity deteriorating on Central Street, but it seems many like it that way.
Give the people what they want. Chicago’s Big Ten team.
Rob, yes we need to slow this process down and make sure city residents understand the true impact. Your letter is a perfect example of the misinformation Northwestern is spreading. Northwestern has said they will never pay us money in lieu of taxes. Their PAID canvassers are lying to residents. In fact the money Evanston may make is tax revenue from ticket sales and alcohol. There are so many costs to consider and parking and mega crowds will pose a problem we do not yet understand. NU’S impact report is also a lie. How do we know? They are keeping their assumptions secret.
Yes, if we’re going to sell the 7th ward to NU’S Corporate non-profit machine then make sure it’s about many, many, millions, not just loud concerts.
Do you have proof of the Northwestern lies you assert? I suspect not. The vicious claims you make are disrespectful of your Evanston neighbors who support the new arena, as well as, disrespectful of Northwestern. Where is the evidence that the “paid canvassers” are lying? What lies are they telling? You have a moral responsibility to get the facts right and not misrepresent what motivates your opposition, as well as, what motivates those many Evanstonians who want this arena built and properly permitted to succeed.