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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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Residents remain concerned as Ryan Field demolition nears completion

Anavi Prakash/The Daily Northwestern
The demolition of Ryan Field has been ongoing since mid-February and is set to be complete in May. Current demolition activities are causing vibrations in residential areas, residents said.

Following six weeks of demolition, the only part of Ryan Field still standing is the Leonard B. Thomas press box, located on the west side of the stadium. The north, south and east sides all lay barren.

The structure is being demolished as part of the field’s $800-million rebuilding process. Demolition started on Feb. 16 and is expected to finish in May.

Throughout the process, residents living near the field said they have experienced high levels of noise. The most noticeable has been the jackhammer, a sound west-side resident Fiona McCarthy said is “obnoxious.” 

McCarthy said she is concerned about the sound impacting the time she and her family spend outside, especially as the weather gets better. 

“For the residents who are really close by, (the jackhammering has) been very, very disruptive,” Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) said. “And we’ve relayed that to the team. But they have to use the jackhammer, so that noise is probably going to go on for another couple of weeks.”

Central Street Consortium, contracted to conduct the rebuild, is using jackhammers to take down the west tower. Revelle said the tower is a composite structure with steel and concrete in it. To get to the steel, the workers have to jackhammer the concrete, she said. 

Resident Ken Proskie, who lives on the east side of the stadium, said another point of concern is vibrations that started last week due to the testing and installation of the Earth Retention System.

The system will support the excavation of the stadium by preventing soil movement. Any erosion would harm the new stadium’s structure during the building process.

Tests of the system on the east side began last week, and Proskie said his neighbor had things fall down in her house due to the degree of the vibrations. 

“She’s farther away than I am (from the stadium),” Proskie said. “The vibration was significant enough that it was shaking her whole body while she was trying to work.”

Proskie, who is currently out of town, said he was concerned about the state of his house and asked one of his neighbors to check and ensure no damage had been done. 

He said nothing was out of order, but he is concerned about potential cracks in the foundation of his house because he has drywall and stucco walls, both of which are susceptible to deterioration. 

According to updates on the Rebuild Ryan Field website, the construction team is monitoring the vibrations to make sure they are within a normal range. Residents are able to report any complaints they have about the demolition to a special 311 line.

Revelle said she gets a weekly report of all 311 calls for the 7th Ward, of which two or three are usually related to the demolition. She said she forwards the complaints to city staff members who are in contact with construction management and, overall, it seems they have been “very responsive.” 

Proskie said he sent a complaint in and did not receive a response for 10 days. 

His complaint was about the buffer zone that construction is supposed to have from residential areas. In the first week of demolition activities, materials were stored less than 35 feet away from residents’ homes — which Proskie said is a violation of city code. He said the issue was only resolved after he contacted Revelle directly. 

The next steps in the rebuilding process include a full excavation and installation of a steel enclosure under the construction site, Revelle said. 

She said it will be important for the city to alert residents about when these activities will begin, as they will be “much more sustained and disruptive” than previous demolition activities. 

It is crucial for the construction team to obey the policies put in place to ensure residents’ everyday life isn’t disrupted, McCarthy said. 

“It’s an issue of them following the rules that they’re supposed to be following,” McCarthy said. “If they are, then hopefully it goes smoothly.”

For a timeline of Ryan Field’s demolition progress, listen to this episode of Everything Evanston. 

Email: [email protected] 

X: @anavi_52

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Contentious Ryan Field demolition in full swing 

Ryan Field demolition remains environmental concern

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