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Strong support for Ryan Field redevelopment among Evanston residents, survey finds

Survey conducted by national firm Impact Research shows Evanstonians are almost 2 to 1 in favor of the project

A recent poll conducted by national public opinion research firm Impact Research shows a majority of Evanston residents support a plan to rebuild Northwestern University’s Ryan Field football stadium as a smaller, more environmentally friendly and accessible community venue. The same research also shows that most Evanston residents believe the project will create strong benefits to the city and create transformational jobs and career opportunities for current and future generations.

Among the findings:

  • Evanstonians are almost 2 to 1 in favor of the Ryan Field rebuild project, with a majority of respondents, 56%, supporting the Ryan Field rebuild project, while only 29% were against. Additionally, when respondents learned more about the project, including new amenities, job growth and targets for minority participation, 63% of respondents supported a new Ryan Field.
  • 64% of respondents were in favor of the new Ryan Field hosting 12 concerts a year; 69% were in favor of 10 concerts; and 74% favored 8 concerts.

The project will require no taxpayer dollars, and Northwestern has committed that at least 35% of all subcontracting spending will go to minority- and women-owned businesses. It also will create a construction job training pipeline that will focus on moving people from low-wage jobs to better-paying careers in the trades.

The new Ryan Field will be a boost to local restaurants, businesses and hotels while creating new jobs and opportunities for Evanston residents. In addition to the millions of dollars in direct payments to the City of Evanston in the form of fees, the construction of Ryan Field is projected to generate more than $650 million in economic activity and lead to the creation of 2,000 new jobs, according to a recent financial impact study.

Plans call for the creation of a new, nearby park to host small-scale community events year-round. The project is designed to achieve Gold LEED certification and will set a new standard for accessibility and inclusivity, making it among the most accessible stadiums in the country.

In addition to the support reflected in the survey, Northwestern has secured more than 2,600 individual signatures from Evanston residents in support of the rebuild Ryan Field project. Supporters include individuals from all nine wards, including many from the Seventh Ward where the new stadium will be built.

The poll, which was conducted Jan. 13-17, surveyed 500 residents throughout the city’s nine wards. The full survey findings and methodology, including demographic and geographic data, can be found at Northwestern commissioned the study in an effort to gage public opinion and determine whether more facts about the project impacted public support.  

About Impact Research:

Impact Research is a nationally recognized survey research firm. For more than 20 years, Impact Research has helped elect Democratic and progressive candidates at all levels — from the White House and Congress to state houses and city halls — and also has worked for a wide variety of clients, including candidates, corporations, non-profits and universities to meet their strategic messaging and targeted needs.