Sports dome on city’s horizon

Evanston may soon play home to an indoor sports dome.

Evanston City Council members on Monday placed on the fast track William Kindra and Randall Mayne’s plans to construct a 60-foot sports dome and 67,660 square foot indoor recreation facility, at 2454 Oakton St.

Aldermen waived the usual introduction period for the ordinance, giving the applicants permission to move forward.

The facility, to be called the Evanston Sports Dome, would be located on 2.6-acre property to the rear of the vacant Gordon Food Market.

The proposal calls for a “weather–protected sports field [artificial turf] … divided into multiple fields and can operate year round, with daily hours of operation, 6 am,, to midnight,” said city officials about the proposal.

Kindra and Mayne said they’re likely looking at a 2015 opening date.

Because the dome is deemed a mechanical temporary structure, it must be closed a period of 48 hours per year to allow for Fire Service inspections, officials said.

A 2,660 square foot building will stand beside it, housing several offices, a check-in desk, concession stands and a party room, but will not have full locker rooms, according to the proposal.

Local soccer enthusiasts have long talked about the lack of an indoor, all-year facility in Evanston, forcing players and families to travel north to Highland Park and beyond, or into Chicago, for practices and competition.

“This facility will keep families within Evanston,” Kindra said. “This is a great facility for both youths and adults which is much needed in the city of Evanston,” he said, following approval Monday.

“We’re really excited,” said Mayne, adding that now the work begins.

Earlier this year, Team Evanston opened up a facility at 2025 Dempster St. in a one time medical warehouse, but this would be the city’s first bonafide sports dome.

The city’s Plan Commission earlier issued a favorable recommendation of the proposal, approving allowances of 60 feet height compared to 45 feet which is required; and 76 parking spaces compared to 131 required under zoning.

Officials also hinged approval on the applicants meeting a number of conditions, including, completion of an environmental remediation of the site; completion of construction of a sidewalk on the north side of Oakton St.; the conducting of a traffic study,after the facility is open, with the results to be furnished to the city for any traffic signal adjustments.

In addition, the applicant is to provide a 15 percent discount for all programming activities to all Evanston residents; and shall also provide scholarships for disadvantaged youth and young adults, similar to a system used by the city.

The site, previously home to a steel plant, is contaminated, officials said. The applicant will have to provide a “No Further Remediation Action Necessary” (NFR) letter prior to issuance of the final occupancy permit,they said.

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