New soccer 'factory' riles neighbors

The Team Evanston soccer practice facility at 2025 Dempster St.

Several neighbors of the new Team Evanston soccer practice facility complained to aldermen Monday night about traffic congestion from parents picking up and dropping off their kids on Greenwood Street.

Tenants in the live-work lofts in the converted factory building at 2100 Greenwood were among the complainers, arguing that the activity was disrupting their peaceful residential neighborhood -- although the properties on their block -- bounded by Greenwood and Dempster streets and Dodge and Hartrey avenues -- are zoned for industrial and commercial uses.

2100 Greenwood St.

Lon Porter, who owns the 2100 building, said the soccer traffic "came as a total surprise. No one talked to me about it."

Porter suggested that the soccer players should instead be dropped off across Dempster Street in the Dominicks or Temperance Brewing parking lots.

And he suggested the soccer group should hire monitors to help kids cross the busy four lanes of traffic on Dempster.

Diagonal parking spaces on Greenwood, and the vacant lot kids cross to get to their parents' cars.

"Six hundred kids are being dropped off twice a week," Porter complained, saying it's not safe and detracts from the value of his building.

The soccer group reached an agreement with the owner of the factory building at 2020 Greenwood to let the kids cross the grassy vacant lot owned by the factory that adjoins 2100 Greenwood to reach Greenwood Street from the back door of the soccer practice facility.

The factory at 2020 Greenwood.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, whose 2nd Ward includes the block, said the drop-off problem was most severe during the first week the training center was open -- before outdoor fields could be used.

He said he's scheduled a meeting to discuss the issue at 7 p.m. June 19 at the District 65 administration building.

Braithwaite had strongly supported plans for the soccer facility to take over what had been a vacant factory building.

Related story

Team Evanston opens new indoor soccer facility

Comments

Kids crossing Dempster

Horrible idea for 600 kids to cross 4 lanes of Dempster at rush hour at possibly the busiest place along the Evanston Dempster corridor.  You are asking for a few kids each year to get hit.  Does not seem like a great tradeoff so that a couple tenants don't have parked cars outside what is already zoned for industrial use.  Think, people, think!

Hard to understand this issue

Looking at the photos, its hard to understand - were are all the cars are lining up? How are they dropping the kids off? Are kids going between peoples cars that are parked on diagonal?
When the city approved this use, why didn't staff question the drop off issue?
It appears to me there was no plan review here by staff, to the issue of use of this building. Bill do you know any history here as to the zoning analysis?
Having looked at a few city economic developement project it appears to me staff, may not be doing their homework- to get these project off the ground, once the problems are created the public is label complainers, when these issue could have should have been resolved up front.
Ofcouse we have a 10 year old space in a city garage ( maple st) the city still has not built out and rent- we have lost well over $1/2 million dollars on this - and we keep on connecting all the new mega developments in town to 100 year old water pipes - why should we expect the city solve any real problems?

Mr. Braithwaite please don't

Mr. Braithwaite please don't bother wasting your time addressing these neighbors. The soccer facility is a great addition to the neighborhood and the mere fact the the residents of 2100 Greenwood CHOSE to live in an industrial/commercial zone means they have no right to complain about industrial or comercial properties in that zone. Besides having a bunch of kids cross Dempster all throughout the day and evening is absurd.

Too many roadblocks

If I didn't know better, I'd think this community holds a grudge against travel soccer. Let's count the ways we've collectively thrown roadblocks in front of Team Evanston.

Our school district has at least 18 gyms, but no systematic way to schedule and allocate after-school gym space for community use. Unless you know someone, good luck scheduling indoor soccer practice space in a D65 Gym. And for indoor games? Hundreds of Evanston kids drive 20 minutes up to "the bubble" in Highland Park or to other suburbs with indoor facilities.

Then Team Evanston joins a coalition of youth sports clubs to convert the recycling center into practice space--the recycling center that has sat unused for how many years? “No,” says a majority of the City Council, “we want market rents and property taxes and other expenses, or else we’re saving it for a commercial use.” I’m sure the city will find a buyer … eventually, and it will cost our city a hefty subsidy of some sort.

Finally Team Evanston finds an unused industrial building, gets permission to use it, leases it, builds it out and opens its own indoor facility—on its own dime. It’s not a gym, the ceilings are a little low, but it will do. It’s not ideally situated for traffic, but the club worked out a plan with a neighbor and got the word out to parents. The rest of Evanston’s youth sports leagues still don’t have indoor space, but they can fend for themselves, and Team Evanston has demonstrated how to do it.

Now the neighbors -- people who choose to live in an area zoned industrial -- are objecting to the pick-up/drop-off traffic? “Let them cross four lanes of Dempster Street,” the neighbors say. I guess it’s a good thing the loft dwellers don’t live in a residential neighborhood across from a school, or live near a train station, or live near Northwestern.
Enough already. Team Evanston has jumped through the hoops. Time for the city and aldermen to step up and help work out the traffic issues. Our town may be too broke to expand recreational facilities, but we still have a government, and that government can play a positive role here.

 

Not the place for a playground

The units for 2100 Greenwood have been on the market 4 or 5 years at least. Didn't the 2100 Greenwood building need City approval for the CHANGE TO LIVE WORK?   Were the owners or renters notified of the proposal for the  Team Evanston property? Didn't they need a variance? As most of  previous posters  say, its an industrial area. So it's not an area for a playground