Game day parking on golf course expanded

Evanston aldermen this week approved plans to expand parking for Northwestern football games on the Frank Govern golf course to a fourth hole this year, despite complaints from some nearby residents.

The expansion would add parking on the 10th hole, across Bryant Street from the Evanston Terraces condominium development at 1201-1229 Central St.
Debbie Weixl, a condo resident, said she'd heard horror stories from long-time residents of the complex about bad behavior by football fans when parking was permitted there in the past.
But Alderman Jane Grover, whose 7th Ward includes the stadium neighborhood, said the neighbors' concerns would be addressed in negotiating the agreement on the parking expansion among the university, the golf association and the city.

Top: The Evanston Terraces condo development at Central Street and Bryant Avenue, across from the golf course's 10th hole. Above: Golfers seen on the 10th hole this week will be replaced with cars for six football Saturday's this fall.
She said increased attendance at football games in recent years has generated more ticket tax revenue for the city and the golf course needs the extra revenue from parking to help offset declining golf revenues that have left it with unpaid water bills to Evanston and Wilmette.
Parks Director Doug Gaynor said parking on the golf course would be limited to season ticket holders so that the city and university would be be able to track and penalize any misbehavior.
Tailgating, with consumption of alcohol, would be limited to the 17th and 18th holes and barred on the 9th and 10th holes.

Comments

Lift the prohibition on pro athletic events at Northwestern

It is good that the city voted to increase this revenue opportunity over the objections of people who moved in the vicinity of a 47,000 person capacity athletics arena and then complain about the traffic.
The next thing the city should work on is reforming the zoning regulations that prohibit professional athletics from being staged at Northwestern.
I think a few years ago residents in Northeast Evanston balked at a Northwestern plan to host a small professional tennis tournament and had the zoning regulations tightened to insure that Northwestern can't host pro athletics.
This is really misguided and has probably cost the city revenue. As we have seen with the bike race, professional athletic events can contribute to local commerce and make the city a more interesting and exciting place to live.
This summer the Chicago Fire's developmental team played a few of their games at ETHS. It was a great, family-friendly atmosphere and they routinely drew a couple of hundred people. Northwestern's landfill athletic sites could host these types of teams which would offer a picturesque setting and draw more people to town.
Ryan Field would be a great site for occasional soccer friendlies, etc... Pro tennis tour could be accommodated in town. There are tons of opportunities to make Evanston a destination and increase economic activity, but silly ordinances make it impossible.

Pro athletics prohibited in U-2 Districts

Ryan Field and some other Northwestern properties are zoned "U-2". One of the restrictions is that only amateur athletic events can be held there.
You can hold professional events in other districts (like downtown does for the bike race). The only reason we have that prohibition for the U-2 districts is because of residents who want to restrict Northwestern's use of its own property.
It is funny because the old Chicago professional lacrosse team (the Machine) actually had their administrative offices in Evanston originally, but the team couldn't play here.
They played at Toyota Park out in Bridgeview and just couldn't draw the crowds. They would have been a perfect fit for Ryan Field since there is a lot of youth lacrosse around here and those folks are the core fans of the pro league.
Eventually the team had to move from Chicago. I know that if they could have played at Northwestern they would have had a better shot at surviving.
The Fire PDL games at ETHS were really fun this summer. They had to move them back to Toyota Park apparently because of some construction at ETHS. It would be great if the city could revise the ordinance and work with the Fire and NU to get games on the campus landfill pitch.
The ETHS venue was OK-except the field isn't really lined specifically for soccer and the neighborhood is kind of dodgy.

Professional teams

Remember we could have had the Bears here when they renovated Solider Field?  That was denied and The Bears and all the tax money and revenue went to Champaign, Illinois.  Typical.