I have lived on Isabella for 35 years. I am part of an extended family that includes 12 NU alums and one former professor. We have enjoyed the various athletic activities through the years and also tolerated the ongoing disruptions experienced with all the various athletic activities and fan behaviors.
I have just learned of the proposed potential scoreboard and the required Evanston Zoning approval from the recent Wilmette electronic newsletter which mentioned it as a courtesy to our neighborhood. Though Northwestern professes to value its place in our collective communities, my neighbors and myself have received absolutely no outreach or word from them on this significant proposal. I do have some personal bias as my house is the closest to the projected scoreboard of any resident, either Evanston or Wilmette, with the scoreboard being approx. 300 feet from my front door and will shine directly at my house and be visible through all my windows.
I do strenuously object to the proposed scoreboard on several grounds. I have read completely NU’s Mr. Davidson’s extensive report submitted to the ZBA and disagree with a number of his conclusions.
As a big athletic fan I am very familiar with the large video screens being used in athletic venues including the recent NU additions in Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena. These screens are virtually always in enclosed arenas and not open and visible to residential neighborhoods such as ours
Mr. Davidson concludes that no residential property values will be affected. This is simply not true……as reinforced by several of my realtor friends when asked to opine on the issue. Some people will be blocked by the new baseball buildings being constructed…….but many of us will not. The proposed landscaping will simply not do much to block the view. The proposed trees are simply too short and too separated to have any significant effect. I can stand on my front walk and see the total scoreboard which will be 40 feet off the ground. For easy reference, the scoreboard will be the same height as the “batters eye” visual background which has been erected in center field. Assumedly the windscreens which are pictured in Mr. Davidson’s photos will also not block any view going forward as they were only erected to shield the existing construction site. This type and size of signage will definitely have an effect on the property values of those most affected
While I can understand NU’s desire to update their scoreboard commensurate with their other improvements, I have followed NU baseball and its’ attendance for 35 years and the size of the proposed scoreboard seems far in excess of what their typical crowds would need.
I feel that a scoreboard of the proposed dimensions will also have a potential dangerous effect on traffic passing by the ball field. I have continually seen traffic on Isabella in both directions slow, or even stop, to observe the field, the activity, or try to glimpse the score. I am also concerned about cars traveling south on 4th st. and trying to enter the intersection at Isabella where there are no traffic controls to assist anyone entering the intersection.
Though a new scoreboard may be desired/warranted, I feel the overall size and height of the current proposed scoreboard will have a significant detrimental effect on the neighborhood and is not in keeping with the existing residential quality which we highly value.
Regardless of the outcome of the issue of size and scope…I have also given considerable thought to the location of the proposed scoreboard. I believe that many of the negative issues resulting from the proposed scoreboard could be significantly lessened if any new scoreboard was erected and centered behind the left field fence instead of the current, and proposed right field location. If the scoreboard was erected in left field, the impact on all the fans would be zero, as such a location would provide exactly the same viewing perspective to all of the stadium seats.
Isabella Street resident
Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of Daily North Shore.