WILMETTE, Ill. — The president and village trustee of Wilmette voted to adopt a resolution during a village board meeting Tuesday that objected to Evanston’s zoning changes that would allow for outdoor concerts at Ryan Field.
The vote revolves around an $800 million renovation project for Ryan Field that was first proposed in Sept. 2022. The project is currently in the early planning stages, but it has come under fire after hazing allegations came to light surrounding Northwestern’s football program in recent months.
If the proposal that includes rezoning changes to Ryan Field is approved, it would allow the stadium to host as many as ten concerts a year once renovations are finished.
“Through this resolution we are sending a clear message to Northwestern University,” said Wilmette Village President Senta Plunkett. “That commercializing education and athletic facilities … to drive profits is wholly unacceptable.”
The vote is a culmination of nine months of feedback from Wilmette residents who have voiced their objections and concerns to the proposed concerts that would be held at Ryan Field, which would welcome as many as 28,500 attendees to each performance.
While a majority of the residents who took to the mic for public comment were in favor of the board’s resolution objecting to the Ryan Field rezoning changes that would make it an outdoor concert venue, some residents expressed their disapproval of the board’s objection.
“I am here objecting to the objection of the resolution,” said Charles Hutchinson, President of the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce. “When events happen at Ryan Field, it brings business into Wilmette, and our business owners like that. It’s good for business downtown and [the area] surrounding downtown.”
With the resolution being passed by Wilmette’s village board, it is next due to be taken to Evanston City Council on Aug. 23.