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Northwestern University officials rounded third base Monday night in their effort to win approval from the City of Evanston for a new scoreboard at Rocky Miller Park, despite complaints from a handful of Wilmette neighbors of the baseball field.

The plans, already approved by city staff and the Zoning Board of Appeals, won approval from the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee Monday — but with a condition that the university provide revised landscaping plans before a final City Council vote scheduled for Feb. 8.

The Wilmette residents, who repeatedly interrupted a university official as he responded to questions from aldermen, at one point had to be admonished by Planning and Development Chair Mark Tendam to stop interrupting or leave the room.

For their part, the residents, who live across the Isabella Street municipal boundary from the field, claimed that the scoreboard would be a blight on their property values, a distraction to drivers and a threat to migratory birds. One speaker also objected to the possibility that her children might see ads for Coca-Cola on the scoreboard.

A rendering of the baseball field, with an arrow pointing to the new scoreboard and new plantings shown along Isabella Street.

University officials said the LED scoreboard would be illuminated only at hours when games are being played — from early afternoon until dusk on 18 spring days. A separate new scoreboard for the adjoining softball field, which was not the main focus of the residents’ ire, would be used on 13 days each year.

The new baseball scoreboard would be 24-feet tall and 36-feet wide and would be mounted 10 feet above the ground. The university says it would feature still-video images and ads, but not flashing or scrolling advertisements. The softball scoreboard would be 16-feet tall and 25-feet wide.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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11 Comments

  1. Ads

    Her Children might see an ad for coca cola. 

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that statement.

    There are way worse things in life than an ad for pop. 

    Didn't there use to be an ad for Winston cigarettes at U.S cellular field?

    1. NU Scoreboard

      The article about the Planning and Development Committee meeting and the previous meetings distorts what really happened.  It is written by a NU grad.  There were very serious concerns raised including traffic safey hazard caused by distracted drivers.  A parent has the ability to turn off the tv or not take their child to a game if they do not want them to see certain things.  When it is glaring uninvited in the windows of one's home, they do not have that choice.  I do not believe anyone mentioned Coke. When the neighbors spoke up out of turn it was because the Northwestern representative was also misrepresenting what they have done and presented. The drawings presented will not look as shown until 2026.  If Evanston residents are so in favor of the screen it should face into their homes. When most people moved here – this technology was not imagined, so no – we did not buy into that. Evanston supports Northwestern's video scoreboard so it should be moved to face them.   We know that Evanston could not care less about our home values or our neighborhood. 

  2. scoreboard at rocky miller park
    i have several questions for the neighbors who are putting up the fuss about a scoreboard that will be used 18 TIMES!!!

    did you know there was an athletic facility at that location when you bought your house?

    do your children ever watch tv or see billboards advertising coke when driving with you on a highways?

    if it were to be flashing all night every night during the season, i would join you in your protest. BUT:

    do you realize how preposterous your nimby comment seem to the rest of us?

    please, get a life.

    mary brugliera

    1. Scoreboard

      We bought our house 43 years ago in a quiet residential street full of young children There was no way we could have anticipated the changes that NW has made to the open fields that have traditionally been their practice grounds.You should come visit us in football season when we hear every play blasted through our house,now punctuated by loud fireworks at the end of games.And the crowds of game goers who drop trash on our lawn.

      We deal with that for the 6/7 football games every Fall.Now  we are told we are sissies if we complain  about adding 18/19 afternoons of similar noise and traffic,making enjoyment of our deck and yard impossible. The scoreboard is insult to injury.It just shows how little NW cares about the negative effects it has on the surrounding community.

      1. I understand

        I understand that it would be inconvienent of live near a football stadium or a baseball field. It's why I would put up a for sale sign and move to a neighborhood more suitable for my family. The stadium and baseball field are not moving.

    2. Complaints
      People who complain about airplane noises when they move next to an airport….people who complain about noise and school bells when they live on a street with a school…..people who complain about waves and noises when they live on the lakefront…..the list goes on and on…and quite silly! thanks for the laugh…..

      1. NU Scoreboard Complaints

        There was no gigantic video scoreboard or towering grandstand when we moved in.  There was at most 40 people attending a baseball game.  That is why communities have zoning laws and ordinances.  Yet Evanston is happy to ignore its own zoning laws and always give Northwestern whatever it wants – despite not receiving any tax revenue.  Evanston does not care at all about any impact on the other side of its border. Clearly Evanston residents like those writing also can be judgmental and smug until something like this is on their block and facing their homes.

  3. NU out of control.

    NU out of control. Northwestern has a $7 BILLION endowment.  Do they need to sell advertising as well?

  4. unnecessary scoreboard

    In an age when most people have smart phones, couldn't all the scoreboard information just be sent wirelessly out to anyone in the stands, or elsewhere, who wanted to participate. We seem to be losing the skill of compromise. As for ad revenue perhaps the subscribers could pay extra for ad free streaming. Just a thought…..

  5. Maybe those neighbors should
    Maybe those neighbors should draw their blinds closed for three hours on the 18 days college kids are playing baseball. Get a life.

    1. It’s more than 18 games

      I live in the neighborhood and embrace NU Sports. However, anyone who thinks the scoreboard will be used just for the 18 games per season is sorely misinformed. You don't spend millions of dollars to erect an elite facility to use 18x per year. The athletic department sees the revenue it can raise using the facility year round.

      There will be a lot of events post College baseball season held at the stadium. In fact, if you check the record, the alderwoman who serves that neighborhood specifically said she looks forward to the community using the new facilities. And I think that’s what concerns neighbors most. We all live here knowing up to 45,000 people could be here on a Football Saturday 8 times per year, or the 18 ballgames per year. What we’re concerned about is the use of the facility beyond the collegiate baseball season. Men’s leagues, high school games, College showcases, and not to mention concerts.

      The university and athletic department could care less about anyone who lives nearby – whether Evanston or Wilmette residents. They've proven that by their complete lack of communication during this project and continued fabrications and omissions regarding the renovations to Rocky Miller Park. One example is the rendering of the scoreboard they shared at the meeting was not accurate and not even close to being to scale or in proportion to what will actually be.

      In addition, it was never mentioned until pressed, but the renderings reflected what the landscaping would look like in 10 years – not just a few short months from now. This entire situation could be eased significantly if the university would simply move the scoreboard to left field so that it projects towards the stands and the parking lot and not the stands and the homes as it is now. They claim that would be a significant expense as they had already laid the sewer pipes on that side of the field. Funny, had the nearby Evanston and Wilmette neighbors been informed of the project before it happened and not after, the placement of the scoreboard would have been addressed prior to any ground being broken.

      Trying to remain positive, I guess it might be a good thing as installing lights (which were in the original plans and later removed due to cost), could not be installed for the exact same reason the university provided as rationale regarding moving the scoreboard to left field.

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