Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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NU proposes $100 million community benefits agreement amid Ryan Field talks

The+announcement+came+just+hours+before+City+Council%E2%80%99s+Monday+night+meeting%2C+where+councilmembers+will+introduce+and+begin+discussing+two+ordinances+to+rebuild+Ryan+Field+and+rezone+the+area+for+concerts.
Daily file illustration by Olivia Abeyta
The announcement came just hours before City Council’s Monday night meeting, where councilmembers will introduce and begin discussing two ordinances to rebuild Ryan Field and rezone the area for concerts.

Northwestern has submitted a draft community benefits agreement to the city of Evanston, committing $100 million to initiatives that could help serve city residents amid the Ryan Field rebuild, the university announced in a Monday afternoon press release.

Over a period of 10 years, the university plans to increase its annual contributions to the Good Neighbor Fund from $1 million to $3 million. The fund allocates money from NU to Evanston. NU also plans to allocate $500,000 per year toward workforce development in the city, and $250,000 per year toward revitalizing downtown Evanston.

Other parts of the draft agreement rely directly on revenues from the potential Ryan Field rebuild, namely from hosting concerts at the new stadium. The release says the university will “guarantee $2 million in annual tax revenues to the city, driven by and assuming concert events occur at Ryan Field.” 

Another $500,000 annually — “supported by a ticket surcharge on all concert tickets at Ryan Field” — will go toward Evanston’s two school districts.

The release also holds that “the redevelopment of Ryan Field, including concerts as proposed by Northwestern” is a “public benefit” for the city.

The announcement came just hours before City Council’s Monday night meeting, where councilmembers will introduce and begin discussing two ordinances to rebuild Ryan Field and rezone the area for concerts.

At an Oct. 11 meeting, the city’s Land Use Commission voted unanimously to recommend the rebuild of Ryan Field to City Council. But the body decided 7-2 not to recommend the rezoning ordinance. The rezoning ordinance would permit NU to hold up to six concerts per year at the new stadium — an aspect that has drawn significant backlash from community members. 

Local activists from the Northwestern Accountability Alliance have repeatedly called for the University to establish a community benefits agreement as a condition of the Ryan Field rebuild. Many have said that the University’s current plans for Ryan Field, which sits in Evanston’s 7th Ward, are insufficient to offset the increased traffic and noise that concerts would bring to the neighboring community.

Several city councilmembers, including Alds. Clare Kelly (1st) and Thomas Suffredin (6th), have said they would not support the Ryan Field ordinances without a community benefits agreement. 

Following Monday night’s discussion, City Council is set to vote on the ordinances on Nov. 13. 

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lilylcarey

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The Daily Explains: What is a Community Benefits Agreement?

Land Use Commission rejects NU’s plan to host concerts at Ryan Field, approves stadium rebuild

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