Northwestern University has finally received the go-ahead to build a new Ryan Field after extensive discussions with residents over the number of concerts the football stadium would host.
As reported by The Associated Press, the Evanston, Ill., city council voted in favor of the project Monday night and approved a rezoning application to allow six concerts per year in addition to other events. The university had lobbied for as many as 12 concerts annually to help bankroll the facility's upkeep.
The vote ends months of speculation and compromise over the future home of Northwestern football, a program that was thrown into its own turmoil with the early season firing of longtime head coach Pat Fitgerald over allegations of hazing among his players.
“This decision marks a pivotal moment for Northwestern and the city of Evanston,” said Dave Davis, Northwestern’s senior executive director of Neighborhood and Community Relations. “We’re embarking on a journey that promises not just a state-of-the-art stadium, but also a beacon of cultural and economic vitality. This project is a testament to our shared vision of progress and prosperity.”
The new stadium to be built on the site of the current, 97-year-old Ryan Field is part of a $480 million donation from the family of Patrick and Shirley Ryan that was the largest in school history. Some of that money is also funding academic ventures.