Evanston sees minimal impact from new Ryan Field scoreboards

Ryan Field | File

Evanston officials believe the impact from proposed new scoreboards and a larger LED video screen at Northwestern University’s Ryan Field stadium, 1501 Central. St., will be minimal.

The application for zoning permission allowing the new scoreboards is set to go before the Evanston City Council‘s Planning & Development Committee at 7:15 p.m. Monday at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.

The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals previously recommended in favor of a special use permit for allowing the university to replace two existing scoreboards and add a new ribbon style one for home football games and special events at the stadium.

Under the proposal, all three of the new scoreboards are located within the stadium, but can be seen from varying locations surrounding the property, according to city community development, planning and zoning officials.

The new main scoreboard will increase six inches in width compared to the existing scoreboard, which is 54 feet wide by 53 feet in height, officials said. The new LED video screen is roughly 25 by 44 feet in size, larger than the existing 18 by 24-foot screen.

This scoreboard is primarily not visible from the Central Street right-of-way, officials noted, “but can be seen from certain locations surrounding the stadium such as from the right-of-way near the main entrance.”

The replacement ribbon scoreboard at the stadium’s south end, is smaller than the existing 140-foot long and 8-foot wide scoreboard at that location.

Since that scoreboard sits atop the south end bleacher seats, and is slightly smaller in bulk than the existing scoreboard, “there is no added impact on surrounded properties,” staff said.

Similarly, they don’t anticipate any impact with the new ribbon scoreboard to be located on the north end of the field, attached to the top of the building and not visible from the Central Street right-of-way.

Overall, the scoreboards will be minimally visible, and are viewed as requests “that will bring Ryan Field up to the standard of similar Big Ten university athletic facilities,” said officials Mark Muenzer, director of community development, Lorrie Pearson, planning and zoning administrator, and Melissa Klotz, zoning planner, in their analysis of the issue.

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