Evanston City Council members Monday night are scheduled to ask a consultant to estimate the cost of constructing a new police-fire headquarters building just south of the existing civic center.
The consultant, AECOM, has already been contracted to develop a variety of options for relocating and redeveloping the civic center and police-fire headquarters buildings at a cost of $367,249.
Adding the new option to the study will raise the study’s cost by $31,025.
The new proposal envisions having a total of just under 150,000 square feet of space combined in the existing building and the new addition.
It also building a nearly 160,000 square foot parking structure on the site of the existing Civic Center parking lot.
The cost estimate is to include a total renovation of the existing century-old building originally constructed as a private school.
The original AECOM contract was approved last October and originally was scheduled to be complete in May. That deadline has already been extended to Aug. 26 and no additional time is being requested to add the new option to the plans.
The other options already included in the study involve relocating the civic center and the police-fire headquarters building to a new location, likely in the downtown area and evaluating options for reusing the existing sites.
A city staff memo says the decision to add the additional option to the study grew out of meetings the consulting team conducted with elected officials.
Also on Monday the City Council is scheduled to approve spending $100,000 for additional repairs to failing gutters and downspouts on the Civic Center. Work to repair the gutters and downspouts and failing brickwork on the fourth floor started last fall and has already cost $286,000.
City officials have been trying for decades to decide whether to build a new home for city offices and have for the most part postponed major upgrades to the existing buildings in the meantime.
It seems to me that the current location of the police department is better than by the Civic Center. Having a presence near the downtown, with parking across the street for public and police, plus fire dept meetings is better than in the more residential neighborhood of the Civic Center.
If we move the police station to the Civic Center not only will we have City Hall, the Police Station, and a new D65 school all in the fifth ward.
What about the post office on Davis St? Building really isn’t used anymore and the postal service wants out anyway, plus you can still keep a small postal outlet onsite. Centrally located & close to all public transit with a city owned parking lot across the street. Currently the building isn’t on the tax rolls anyway. Three large floors with a footprint bigger than many people realize and constructed like a concrete bunker that will outlive all of us. Activate what is currently a complete dead zone. Rehab cost probably on par with all new construction. So why not?
Agree that the City should think about acquiring the post office and repurposing it. Not sure that it should become City Hall as it’s a beautiful, historic building that may be better served as an indoor market and allow the developer to add 3-4 stories of apartments above (but all historical aspects of the building should be maintained).
Since the City already owns the property at 1554 Elmwood (the current police and fire department) as well as Elmwood Avenue between Lake and Grove, why doesn’t the City acquire 1459 Elmwood and build a full service City Hall up against the tracks, west of the Albion building? This gets City Hall downtown and creatively uses land the City already owns. Plus, it gets the City a new City Hall which meets their needs, unlike the monstrosity the City currently occupies.
I am not opposed to any plans to reorganize civic offices. The only issue which is the elephant in the room is Cost. If we sell the Civic Center to a private institution, for a school, that makes sense if the revenues generated are sufficient to cover the cost of building a new Civic Center. Then, it does make sense to consider pulling the Police Dept offices and Fire Dept offices into the fold of the new building. Then, it also makes sense to consider selling the current land and office buildings that abutt the old Masonic Temple on Maple and Lake. Maybe there could be an interest in that location for expansion by the buyer of the Masonic Temple. All of these things can be considered, but the revenues generated from real estate sales have to make sense and create a financial opportunity. Q: if the Civic Center was sold, then where would it go? Would all the land including the landscaped area at the rear of block also be sold? Would the parking lot be built on multiple levels as a garage? That would make the most sense in consideration of the value of land. An enclosed garage makes sense to me.
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