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

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.


Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award
District 65 School Board votes to close Dr. Bessie Rhodes School
Kathryn Hahn declares class of 2024 “worthy of celebration” in commencement address
Pro-Palestinian graduates walk out of 2024 Commencement Ceremony in solidarity with Gaza
‘Wildcats should have wild dreams:’ Nikki Okrah delivers optimistic 2024 Weinberg Convocation address
The Daily Explains: Contextualizing the Evanston reparations lawsuit
NU announces plans to prevent disruptions at commencement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

May 30, 2024

Lacrosse: No. 1 Northwestern falls 14-13 to No. 2 Boston College in national championship battle

May 26, 2024

Campus Kitchens fills plates and hearts

Why Club Sports at Northwestern?

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

After early blow, Ryan Field foes expand claims in suit against Evanston, NU

Shun Graves/The Daily Northwestern
Crews worked in the rubble of the old Ryan Field on Wednesday as excavation for the new arena continues.

Residents suing Evanston over Northwestern’s plans for a rebuilt Ryan Field sought to breathe new life into their accusations Monday, doubling down on claims a county judge dismissed in April and detailing how public concerts could “interfere” with their livelihoods.

After Judge Pamela McLean Meyerson dismissed three of the four original claims in April, siding with the city and NU, the remaining count seemed poised to enter a pretrial phase. But the Most Livable City Association now seeks to relitigate the claims while introducing some new ones.

Shortly after Mayor Daniel Biss broke City Council’s tie in November to approve NU’s plans to host public-facing concerts at a new Ryan Field, Most Livable City and 13 stadium neighbors sued the city. The group opposing the events wants the court to declare that approval invalid.

In the months since, the University has intervened to support the city. With its modified claims detailed in Monday’s filing, Most Livable City asks the court to reconsider its decision. The changes could prolong a case that cuts to the core of a debate that has riven Evanston for the past year.

One count includes more detailed claims that the city violated residents’ due process rights by approving the ordinance on a tie-breaking vote, alleging that decades ago, Evanston’s legal counsel declared a higher voting threshold when City Council voted on a zoning change.

Another reiterates arguments that the city should have used a map amendment, a more stringent process, rather than a simple text amendment to allow concerts at Ryan Field. And the last further underscores due process claims over the city’s handling of a Most Livable City written protest last year.

The suit’s most lengthy claim, that the city engaged in “secret negotiations” in favor of NU and thus violated residents’ due process rights, has proceeded regardless of the judge’s April ruling — because Evanston and NU had not asked for the court to dismiss it.

Monday’s modified complaint separates the claims that Biss and some councilmembers “traded their support for the zoning change for Northwestern’s promise of monetary payments to the City” into a new count.

And it introduces two more counts to the suit for seven total. The final two ask the court to prevent the zoning ordinance from taking effect, arguing the public-facing concerts will deleteriously impact private properties and public spaces near the rebuilt Ryan Field.

“Because the noise, traffic and other adverse impacts from commercial events will impair the use and enjoyment of neighboring properties, we ask the Court for an injunction against the ordinance,” Most Livable City wrote in a message to supporters Monday.

The city declined to comment on the residents’ new efforts.

The new filing arrives at another landmark juncture for Ryan Field. As demolition at the 7th Ward site winds down and construction on the new arena begins, barely any parts of the 97-year-old stadium remained standing Wednesday. NU plans to complete its brand-new, $800 million football field in 2026.

Though Biss cast his tie-breaking vote in November, the Ryan Field fracas remains top of mind for some residents — and could play a role in next year’s mayoral election. In his State of the City address earlier this month, the mayor reiterated his view that a benefits pact with NU over Ryan Field ushered town-gown relations into a “fundamentally” new era.

Still, Biss’ detractors continue to pillory the mayor as overly amenable to NU’s wishes. While pursuing its claims in court, Most Livable City has also lambasted Biss on social media, frequently denouncing him as “Tiebreaker Dan.”

“Could an audition for Willie Wildcat be far behind?” the group wrote in a post from April.

Email: [email protected]

X: @realShunGraves

Related Stories:

Judge sides with NU, Evanston, dismisses 3 counts in Ryan Field case

Parties duel as first decision looms in Ryan Field zoning case against Evanston

Football: Northwestern to play ‘majority’ of 2024, 2025 home games at enhanced Martin Stadium

More to Discover