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

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

The Daily Northwestern

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Wilmette approves Ryan Field pact with Evanston despite residents’ qualms

Shun Graves/The Daily Northwestern
Evanston granted a demolition permit for the Ryan Field project last week, just as its longstanding dispute with neighboring Wilmette came to a close.

The Wilmette Village Board unanimously approved an agreement with Evanston over impacts from the Ryan Field rebuild Tuesday, quelling a simmering battle between the neighboring cities — even as some village residents renewed their calls for a lawsuit.

For months, residents in the village north of Evanston and Ryan Field called the project a “mortal attack” and pushed Wilmette to sue the city. The deal also arrives as stadium demolition begins in earnest, with trucks carrying dirt rolling in and out of the site this week.

Under the pact, Evanston will restrict demolition, construction and concert traffic from traveling into Wilmette — making sure to present all plans that might impact the village to its neighbor before approval.

Evanston must also ensure that three noise detection devices — their locations chosen at Wilmette’s discretion — measure sound during concerts. During construction, the city must place devices measuring vibrations on the site’s Wilmette-facing side. If a violation were to arise, the village would receive half of the resulting fines.

The pact calls on NU to maintain a phone line for Wilmette residents to voice their concerns. It will add a non-voting Wilmette representative to the Evanston’s Community Advisory Council, which currently includes three Evanston and three NU representatives.

Evanston’s City Council unanimously approved the pact on Monday.

During public comment at the Wilmette Village Board’s Tuesday meeting, residents criticized the agreement as ineffective and unenforceable. One speaker compared the pact to a Faustian deal with the devil, and others reiterated their longstanding demand that the village sue Evanston.

Wilmette trustees acknowledged residents’ claims that the Ryan Field rebuild could adversely affect residents but largely rebuffed the push for a lawsuit.

“We can only sue for things that hurt the village as a village,” trustee Gina Kennedy told the crowd. “We cannot sue for things that hurt residents as residents. Only you can do that.”

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