Wilmette approves resolution objecting to Northwestern's Ryan Field renovations

The controversy over Northwestern University's proposed new Ryan Field has spilled from Evanston to its next-door neighbor to the north: the Village of Wilmette.

On Tuesday night, Wilmette's Village Board approved a resolution formally opposing the $800 million project.

Many residents in Wilmette share the same concerns of many neighbors in Evanston: the impact of Northwestern using its new football stadium as a commercial concert venue on traffic and noise levels.

"Increased crime, increased noise, increased traffic," said longtime resident Ariel Weissberg of his concerns. "I think the commercialization concept is a flawed concept, and it's not neighborly when you consider the potential damage to the neighborhood and Wilmette neighbors."

Although renderings of Northwestern's proposed $800 million football stadium sparkle, many Wilmette neighbors who live just steps away from the site strongly oppose the University's proposed use of it for up to 10 concerts per year.


"Friends won't be able to park. We won't be able to hear each other. We'll have to go inside, close all the windows and turn the air conditioning on. It's not how we want to live, it's not why we moved here," said resident Susanne Nowicki.

FOX 32 did speak to one Wilmette resident who favors the project. He said the new venue – along with its concerts – can serve as a valuable economic engine for the whole area.

"I think it'd be a good thing," said Mark Weyermuller. "The stadium could be revamped and redone. And how could this be bad? Neighbors should want Northwestern to succeed."

The resolution opposing the project calls it a "gross infringement," with many unanswered questions about mitigating noise levels.

The President of the Wilmette Board of Trustees said later this month, she will be asking Evanston's Land Use Commission to deny the rezoning required to allow concerts and other commercial events. That's scheduled to happen at a meeting on August 23.