About 125 Evanston residents packed the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center Sunday to talk about Northwestern University’s plan to build a new Ryan Field football stadium. The meeting was sponsored by the Community Alliance for Better Government. Four speakers from different organizations called for Evanston officials to seek major concessions from Northwestern if the city OKs the $800 million project. “We are here to help organize people to make our voices heard,” said Lesley Williams, Community Alliance president. (Photo by Richard Cahan)
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Thank you for highlighting this meeting. However, I’m concerned that the focus as described (in this short summary, of course) was on the need for “concessions…if the city OKs the $800-million project.” Why skip right to the “if”? As though the re-build is not only a certainty, but acceptable?
Indeed, some of the participants described this as a “moment of opportunity” to get things the city deserves from NU—quite a range of mechanisms and also types of investment are possible. But our attitude should not just be one of quid pro quo. What Evanston residents need first and foremost is the ability to say “no” to a bad idea.
I have a bad feeling that the approach described here (and indeed embraced by some participants, but not all) definitely serves NU’s own PR effort to promote this as essentially a “done deal.”