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Administration and Public Works Committee

Here's a recap of our live coverage of this evening's Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

5:50 p.m. Meeting called to order.

Minutes approved.

Committee members Burrus, Grover, Holmes and Rainey are present. Braithwaite is delayed, but expected to arrive shortly.

A packet with information on tonight's agend items is available online.

Payroll and bills approved.

Parking garage roof project $218K contract with GA Johnson of Evanston. Approved.

E Town Tennis contract. Approved.

Fuel purchases $950K for 2013. Contract with Palatine Oil Company of Schaumburg. Approved.

SWANCC contract. Approved.

Tallmadge street light purchase for AMLI development streetscape $41K. (Developer is paying $450K to upgrade the Chicago Avenue streetscape by the development, including the cost of installing the new lights.) Approved.

Main Street Transit Oriented Development Study. $25K match from city's economic development fund to a $100K RTA grant.

City Planner Dennis Marino says the study would be key to getting future funding for a new Main Street CTA station and should help with several other projects in the area.

Approved.

Water Treatment Facility inspection contract extension $20K. Utilities Director Dave Stoneback says the land the reservoir is on is owned by Northwestern University. Says working with the school to keep larger vehicles off the reservoir roof. Related story.

Stoneback says consultants believe normal vehicle parking would be OK for now, but does need to have roof replaced relatively soon.

In response to question from Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says that if the reservoir roof were to fail, the city would have to take it out of service and begin emergency repairs.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says staff believes that in near future will have to come back to the City Council with a long-term solution — which may require another storage tank somwhere in the general area — which most likely would not have cars parked on top of it.

Says that plan to be in the water business far into the future and need to make sure have adequate capacity — and to be able to expand service to other communities if desired.

Approved.

Dodge Avenue Protected Bike Lane $120K match to proposed $480K CMAQ grant. Approved.

ETHS intergovernmental Agreement — extra school service police officer from the city … school to add a career/job coordinator for vocational training activities.

School official says goal is to have students leave school with a specific career plan, not just a diploma. Looking to work with the "more disengaged" students at the school.

Says this will be a new hire, not a transfer of a position at the school, as it was described in the agenda packet.

Police Chief Richard Eddington says the second officer would be present during the regular school year, not including summer schools.

ETHS Security Chief Sam Pettineo says because of the size of the building, one officer isn't enough. Says the one officer now is often away from the building for court appearances.

Says has been a slight increase in gang activity at the school recently.

Approved.

Noyes Cultural Arts Center leases with tenants. Approved.

Sale of Surplus Property Three vehicles to auction. Approved. 

Distillery limit increases. Approved.

Panhandling ordinance. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she doesn't think the ordinance is restrictive enough.

Law department representative says need to have reasonable time restrictions to meet constitutional limitis.

Rainey says then the limits should be "daylight hours."

Rainey says panhandling is really getting out of control.

Rainey proposes that the ordinance be introduced as it stands, and then returned to committee for revision.

Approved.

Redevleopment Implementation Plan for Chicago-Main TIF

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, says she's opposed to the plan, doesn't think the TIF is needed

Approved 4-1.

City Lit project

Discussion item. City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says he hopes to come back to the council with further information at the next meeting. Says staff considers it to be a very important project. 

Alderman Delores Holmes says she feels very strongly that need to move forward on the project. Says having purchased the property, now need to move forward with it. Ought to stick with what we say we're going to do, she says.

Need to make sure that City Lit can do the job, but very much want to see a development there.

Rainey says she was devastated when the project was rejected at the last meeting.

Says know some people don't want to spend money on Howard Street.

Says the arts proposal (for downtown) discusses three different venues … $40M to $50+M … comparatively speaking …if that's good enough for downtown then $1.6M should be good enough for Howard Street.

Says project is becoming a city-wide political football. Says its a foolish thing to promote as a campaign issue.

Says will have a whole lot of information and be prepared to make a new presenation in two weeks.

Alderman Burrus says when voted to purchase the building "we were all on board."

Says also had initial estimates of $600K for rehab — not the $1.7M current price. "It was really sticker shock for me," Burrus says.

Should go forward blindly without looking at what's financially feasible.

Rainey says could criticize that we weren't geniuses about designing theaters. But know a lot more now.

And need to build the right structure. Howard Street is worth having a decent building, she says.

Says will go out for other bids and get new specs.

Holmes says she's not saying that "should follow Alderman Rainey over the cliff" — but believes the building should end up being a theater. Have to figure out how to do it for a price the city can afford.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says city economic development staff will be putting together a report on what's happening on the Chicago side of Howard Street. Says she's looking for information and hard data. But need to get a lot more comfortable with it. Do hope to get there.

Rainey says have to consider the baseline — and that there haven't been any bar fights outside the Tally Ho on the Chicago side of Howard since the wine bar opened on the Evanston side.

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m.

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