Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to discuss a proposal to let Northwestern University conduct a two-year test of holding commercial events in its Welsh-Ryan Arena.

The proposal would be limited to a total of seven events spread over a maximum of 13 days per year and attendance at each event would be capped at 7,000 spectators.

The proposal has drawn intense opposition from some residents of neighborhoods adjoining the school’s athletic complex, who claim it will disrupt their lives and reduce their property values.

But other community residents have voiced support for the plan, citing the potential additional tax revenue to the city and the appeal of having additional popular events held here.

The city’s Plan Commission recommended approval of the proposal on a 4-2 vote.

Two aldermen, Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, and Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, have voiced opposition to the proposal. It’s not yet clear where most other aldermen stand on the issue.

The proposal is on the agenda for the Council’s Planning and Development Committee meeting, which is scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m.

Related stories

NU arena events plan advances (9/12/19)

Arena events vote delayed three weeks (8/8/19)

Neighbors complain about NU arena events plan (6/26/19)

NU seeks more events at stadium complex (4/26/19)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. NU Events

    If Evanston could receive $125,000 per event from NU in taxes between entertainment fees and alcohol taxes, it would go a long way towards closing the budget deficit.  It would generate roughly $4.25 million.  The restaurants on Central Street would also have even more business generating even more tax revenue to the City–maybe the overall revenue increase to the City could hit $5 million.

    I believe the budget deficit was over $7 million in 2018/19.  

    Do we want to tax the middle class out of Evanston?

    Does anyone have a better idea to close the unfunded pension liability?  A brief look at the Fire and Police pension shows that it is 44.5% funded through 12/31/17.

    Do we want to shrink the City workforce via attrition?

    Is the rate of accidents/property damage notably higher on football/basketball events than other days?  If not, I support expanding NU events as long as the City can capture at least $4.25 million based on 15 men’s basketball events, 6 football games and 13 commercial events (HS graduation does not count).

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