Ryan Field renovation ordinance introduced for discussion

Elena Sucharetza, Assistant City Editor

Evanston’s Planning and Development committee introduced an ordinance for discussion Monday night on the reconstruction of the Ryan Field parking lot.

The project would involve upgrades and renovations to the parking lot for the purposes of regulating traffic more easily and updating deteriorating facilities, developers said.

“We are proposing renovations to the lot because it has deteriorated to the point where we need general maintenance,” said Charles Davidson, project manager at Northwestern Facilities Management. “There is no drainage, it has poor geometry and we are getting continuous service complaints.”

Davidson said some of the proposed changes include making renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility recommendations, improving traffic flow along Ashland Avenue and Isabella Street, and revamping the crosswalk near the field. Additional renovations could also be considered environmentally friendly improvements, Davidson said. He named sustainable upgrades such as rain gardens that would promote filtration and pre-treatment of rainwater as well landscaping done around the lot.

John D’Angelo, vice president of Facilities Management, said developers were also considering building a fence by the lot to alleviate concerns from some residents that the parking lot would be used as a shortcut to surrounding neighborhoods during athletic events.

Many individuals spoke positively about the dialogue between NU staff and residents in the area concerning the project during the public comment segment of the meeting. Evanston resident John Black said NU should be “commended on their remarkable sense of partnership.”

“I have never seen so many happy neighbors in my life,” Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said about the public comment discussion after the introduction of the ordinance.

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