Recap: Evanston City Council

Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council meeting.

7:28 p.m.
The meeting called to order. All aldermen except Colleen Burrus, 9th Ward, are present.
Mayor says it was a very good week last week -- new viaducts installed, grant received for a community health center and another grant for rebuilding the lakefront lagoon.
Evonda Thomans, health director says the grant is expected to be ongoing annual support for the health center at a level of $650,000.
Expect to see 5,000 dental and 24,000 medical visits by the end of year one.
Location still unknown. Will be eight medical providers and two dental providers.
Mayor says Sen. Durbin and Rep Schakowsky were fabulously helpful in working to get the grant.
City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says anticipates the new center will not require any cash support from the city.
Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says center will serve Skokie and other surrounding communities as well as Evanston.
7:37 p.m.
Parks Director Doug Gaynor talks about the grant from the state for the lagoon. Notes the Arrington family has made $500,000 donation to the project. Will require $100,000 of city money to complete the project.
Says will be able to completely rebuild the stage area, the brickwork around the lagoon, and repair the leaks in the lagoon itself.
Says construction will probably start next April.
7:40 p.m.
City gets Tree City USA award for the 29th straight year -- one of the longest continuous awards in the state. Notes the city has over 32,000 trees on public property.
7:44 p.m.
Announcement about upcoming 4th of July celebration.
7:47 p.m.
New IT manager Jose Calderone, 7-year resident of Evanston's 3rd ward, introduced.
7:51 p.m.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, moves to take off the table the items related to the Evanston Plaza TIF.
7:52 p.m.
Citizen Comment
Because of number of speakers, the mayor says, each will have about 2 minutes.
Tim Eberhardt, 2nd Ward resident, says he favors the Dempster-Dodge TIF. Says would like the plaza to be more walkable ... and reduction in fast food outlets.
Diane Thodos, 2668 Orrington Ave., says favors pulling money out of Chase and putting it into local banks.
Bea Rashid, director of Dance Center Evanston, speaks in favor of Dempster-Dodge TIF.
Dan Coyne, 827 Monroe, claims Ridgeville Park board is engaging in institutional racism. Wants parks to be a wonderful gathering place for all.
8:26 p.m.
Consent Agenda
Information about agenda items can be found online here.
Taken off consent agenda:
A 6 - $75K contract with Krivanek + Breaux for new public art for Sherman Plaza Garage. (at the request of Alderman Fiske)
A 15, A 16, A 17 and A 18 .. all related to the Dempster-Dodge TIF removed from consent agenda at request of Alderman Wilson, and others.
Consent agenda approved.
Sherman garage art
Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she plans to vote against it. Says there's already art at Sherman Plaza (“The Sea of the Ear- Ring” ).
Calls this new piece a "fill-in." Says it's not the artist's best work.
Suggests doing something at plaza across from the library by the same artist instead. 
Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, says the project is beautifully designed and he strongly supports it. Says it will be highly visible. Believes city will be very happy to have it. Thinks it will become a destination.
Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he initially had reservations about the project, but now plans to go forward with it. Says "we have a public art committee for a reason."
Approved 7-1.
Terra restaurant liquor license
Alderman Holmes moves for immediate adoption. Approved 8-0.
Dempster-Dodge tax increment financing district
Alderman Wilson says the shopping center is important to him, he's there all the time, wants it to succeed.
But disappointed that don't have a specific redevelopment plan. It amounts to a cash stream for a private property owner. Doesn't assure that residents will have anything to say about it.
Says the immediate $2 million of needs are things the property owner -- who got it at a discount at an auction -- should be covering.
Says the nature of the property should be better. Doesn't want to put flowers in front of it but see real change in the neighborhood.
Alderman Tendam says doesn't see an excited partner in this -- says the owner hasn't seen anything that would take the project beyond just a viable center -- to make it what the vision of the neighborhood is.
Fiske says she agrees with Wilson about the $2 million being work the landlord should pay for -- but she plans to vote for the TIF itself.
A 15 - TIF redevelopment plan is approved 6-2.
A 16 - TIF designation approved 6-2
A 17 - TIF allocation financing approved 6-2
A 18 - TIF redevelopment agreement with Bonnie Management (owners of the plaza).
Rainey says info from staff presented at the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting helped persuade her to vote for this proposal.
City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz recaps presentation he made at that meeting.
Says wouldn't be doing cosmetic work.
Bobkiewicz says Dominick's chain in Chicago area is becoming smaller. Says parent company has major presence on U.S. east and west coasts...but not much in midwest. Fears that will need to find new tenant when that lease expires in 2020.
Says need to be nimble looking forward for that change.
Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says the agenda item only asks authorization to negotiate an agreement. Can still build in other provisions--perhaps including a parallel investment by the plaza owner.
Approved 5-3. Fiske, Wilson, Tendam vote no.
9:01 p.m.
Call of the Wards
Holmes and Tisdahl say there will be a "Know Your Neighbor" discussion coming up Aug. 9 ... regarding racial issues in community. 
Fiske praises Arrington family for the lagoon contribution.
Braithwaite thanks neighbors for support of TIF. Thursday fundraiser for Grandmother Park ... 5p.
Wynne ... makes reference to A&PW committee regarding rats. Says city will bait in single-family neighborhoods. But doesn't provide that service for condos. Need to have comprehensive effort.
Wilson -- people need to do what can to not create hospitable environment for rats. Says will a little bit of effort from residents ...to bag trash and secure it in carts would do a lot to improve the situation.
9:16 p.m.
Council votes to go into executive session.

Comments

It feels like the 6th Ward is ignored

I live in the 6th Ward, adjacent to the 5th Ward.  I look around to see what the City Council has done recently for my ward compared to the 5th Ward and it seems scant attention is paid to the 6th Ward. 
For the Fifth Ward, the City Council in the past few years landed an $18 million federal grant to rebuild homes, created a TIF District near the high school, landed another multi-million dollar grant to rehab infrastructure such as new lights, curbs and now created ANOTHER TIF for a shopping center. D65 tried to build a new school at $28 million and almost pulled it off with the help of powerful politicians like Jan Schakowsky and Robyn Gabel.
TIFs keep taxes that normally would go into public coffers to pay for schools and city services. What that means is there is more of a burden for those who pay taxes.
And what about the 6th Ward? The Council considered closing the Chandler Rec Center but pulled away after residents organized and protested. The Council tried to close the North Branch Library but relented to a citizen uprising that basicially took upon themselves to not only keep that branch alive but open another one in the 5th Ward!!! D65 has basically ignored Lincolnwood School as enrollment burst at the seams - no new addition while Willard, Dewey and Lincoln all received multi-million dollar additions in the past three years (Dewey got two additions in that time frame).
What are we, chopped liver?
Local politicians beware. People in the 6th Ward are well-organized and pretty mad as I am. That doesn't bode well for incumbents in the next April election.

It's mainly because our

It's mainly because our alderman is ineffective. His name rarely is mentioned regarding meeting proceedings. He rarely initiates any legislation. He is a watcher and not a leader.

When Do-Gooders Do Harm

I agree that if we don't improve the neighborhood around the high school, future homebuyers will go elsewhere.  It's a real blight on our city and a disservice to our children.  But it's racism and classism to continue to expect the 6th ward to support and continue entitlements when we are struggling so much.  People who accept handouts don't feel obligated to repay or even thank the donors.  People have pride and I feel we are not providing that to our neighbors. 

Share your opinion re incumbents but they're not Anti-6th

Chandler-Newberger is near Central/Ridge, which is 7th Ward.
D65 may have ignored Lincolnwood, but Willard is in the 6th ward.
Sites and services are in one ward or another, but that doesn't mean that use of those sites and services is limited to people who live in that ward.  You don't need to make this a Ward-versus-Ward argument in order to attack the incumbents.

Al, Please familiarize yourself with the Ward Map.

First Al, the Chandler Center and the North Branch of the library are both in the Seventh Ward.
Secondly, while Lincolnwood school is, indeed, in the Sixth Ward, why are you complaining about it on a post about the City Council?  District 65 has jurisdiction over schools.
Also, I like how you cite the fact that Willard received a multi-million dollar addition as being an affront to the Sixth Ward.
Once again, please consult a ward map.  Willard is in the Sixth Ward.
You claim that the new TIF will benefit the Fifth Ward.  The new TIF is in the Second Ward.

My bad

In my defense I wrote the post before drinking my morning java.
I was a wee bit ward challenged this morning and woke up a little more grumpy than usual.
My apologies to my darling fan club of two.
:)