Evanston police plan ‘heavy presence’ for ‘College GameDay’

Patrick Svitek, City Editor

Evanston police are planning a “heavy presence” for the arrival of “College GameDay” on the Northwestern campus this weekend, according to the city’s top cop.

Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington told City Council on Monday evening that accommodating the ESPN show — as well as several other blockbuster events around the city — will be a “huge logistical effort,” but his force and other authorities are up to the task. He said he will send more officers than usual to off-campus neighborhoods between 4 a.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday.

ESPN confirmed Monday that “College GameDay” will start at 9 a.m. Saturday on the Lakefill, its first stop in Evanston since 1995. An NU spokesman said Sunday the show would broadcast from the northern part of the on-campus lakefront.

(Evanston, Northwestern prepare for first ‘GameDay’ visit since 1995)

City officials noted “College GameDay” is not the only attraction expected to bring large crowds to the city at the end of this week. “Mike & Mike,” the ESPN radio show co-hosted by Mike Greenberg (Medill ’89), will broadcast Friday morning from Deering Meadow. Greenberg will lead NU’s Homecoming Parade on Friday night as Evanston Township High School celebrates its own homecoming festivities.

(Homecoming to prep for Ohio State game with ’90s-themed events)

“It’s going to be a busy, busy weekend,” city manager Wally Bobkiewicz said.

He said the city will extend its hours for 311 and keep more staff on hand throughout the weekend.

“If there’s a bump, we’ll be ready to respond as quickly as we can,” Bobkiewicz told aldermen.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl asked Eddington if the city could request more portable toilets for traveling partygoers. Eddington said he is looking into the possibility.

City officials are expected to discuss the preparations in more detail at a meeting Tuesday morning.

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Twitter: @PatrickSvitek