February 16, 2024 update: Demolition began this week at Ryan Field and is estimated to be completed in 3 to 4 months. Work hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The Construction Management Plan for the Ryan Field Stadium is available on Evanston’s Planned Projects webpage.
February 14, 2024 update: The IGA was approved unanimously by both the Evanston City Council and the Village of Wilmette Board of Trustees at their respective meetings.
The following is statement from the Village Board of Trustees
For more than a year, the Wilmette Village Board of Trustees has objected to the commercialization of the Northwestern University athletic campus. The Village Board has unanimously passed a resolution opposing such commercialization, attended City of Evanston zoning meetings to object and regularly advocated for its residents via direct conversations with Evanston and Northwestern.
Due to the Village’s shared concerns with its residents about the impacts of the approved concerts and other activities at the new Ryan Field, the Village Board obtained formal legal opinions from its Corporation Counsel, as well as Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, a law firm specializing in local government representation, as to the advisability of a lawsuit challenging the legality of Evanston’s zoning approvals.
Based on the recommendations from the Village’s Attorney and outside legal counsel, as well as cooperative discussions with the City of Evanston, the Village Board has determined that pursuing litigation against the City of Evanston regarding the legality of its zoning approvals would not be productive.
As an alternative to litigation, the Village pursued negotiations for an intergovernmental agreement with Evanston, providing Wilmette the opportunity to mitigate the adverse impacts anticipated to be caused by the demolition, construction, and planned use of the new stadium upon Wilmette and its residents. The key components of the proposed Intergovernmental Agreement were drafted in response to the feedback and concerns expressed by Wilmette residents:
- Construction traffic, concert set-up traffic and concert attendee traffic may not be directed into Wilmette
- Evanston will ensure a construction management representative is onsite during demolition and new construction to resolve resident concerns in real-time
- Vibration monitoring devices will be installed to monitor impacts of demolition & construction
- Wilmette will have the opportunity to review and provide feedback regarding construction plans, stadium security plans, traffic management plans, and concert operations plans prior to their approval by Evanston
- Evanston will consult with Wilmette regarding sound mitigation strategies for concerts and ensure sound measurement devices are installed in Wilmette
- Wilmette will appoint a representative to serve as an ex officio member of the Evanston/Northwestern Community Advisory Council
- Evanston will support Northwestern’s continued reimbursement of police and public works expenses associated with events at the Ryan Field complex
- Evanston will share fine revenues with Wilmette should concert noise in Wilmette exceed established thresholds
Reaching such an agreement delivers immediate tangible protections to Wilmette residents which could not be assured through litigation which is a lengthy and uncertain endeavor and preserves an important working relationship between Wilmette and Evanston.
The Evanston City Council will vote upon the Intergovernmental Agreement at its February 12 meeting and the Wilmette Village Board will vote upon the agreement on February 13.
Significantly, the Village retains the option to protect its residents through future litigation should it be determined that concerts or other activities associated with the Ryan Field complex subject residents or the Village to substantial harm.
Click here to view the IGA.