Residents outraged after Wilmette approves deal with Evanston over Ryan Field renovations

WILMETTE, Ill. (WLS) — Wilmette residents who filled the room at Tuesday night’s board meeting said they are appalled and ashamed that their trustees chose to approve an agreement with Evanston over construction and use of Northwestern’s approved Ryan Field.

The long, contentious fight over Northwestern’s Ryan Field led into a regularly scheduled board meeting inside Wilmette’s village hall.

There, many of the North Shore residents who have actively opposed the commercial use of the university’s multi-million dollar football stadium, specifically for concerts, showed up trying one more time to try to change the trajectory of Ryan Field’s use.

“I am in the direct line of fire of construction and all the noise that’s going to be flying from the concerts,” said Phil Adams.

“My real concern is the sound,” another resident said.

Instead of pursuing a lawsuit against neighboring Evanston over changes to zoning that will allow for concerts at the new Ryan Field, Wilmette’s trustees negotiated a multi-page, inter-governmental agreement.

It allows Wilmette to immediately have a say on some regulations on issues like noise level, construction traffic and parking.

“Addresses traffic, prohibits concert set-up and take down from happening on Wilmette streets,” said Wilmette Village President Senta Plunkett.

None of that is binding enough for residents who have instead pushed for a lawsuit.

“I urge you to image what you will say to your grandchildren in 10-20 years when they ask you, ‘What happened on that night February 13 when you gave up the peace and quiet with Wilmette?'” one resident said.

“Please vote no. Please don’t let the concerts happen. It’s a chance to save something really special. Please know that,” another speaker said.

In the end, the agreement between Evanston and Wilmette passed unanimously.

Several hundred residents have signed onto a private lawsuit against Evanston over Ryan Field.

Wilmette trustees said this agreement does not prevent them from filing suit in the future if any terms of the deal are violated.


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