Evanston aldermen Tuesday are scheduled to approve three contracts to purchase items needed to complete the new Robert Crown Community Center.

The deals include spending $325,000 with Blessing Hancock of Olympia, Washington, for public art at the center.

Blessing Hancock was one of five finalists for the project chosen last fall from a total of 261 proposals received.

The Evanston Arts Council in January recommended awarding the project to another finalist, New York artist Marc Fornes. Fornes plan called for an outdoor aluminum sculpture and performance space.

But after further evaluation of construction costs and feasibility, the Arts Council ended up recommending the award to Blessing Hancock in March.

A rendering of a detail of the sculpture with the Crown Center in the background.

Hancock describes the sculpture as a series of three ellipical rings with cutouts of figures engaged in sports activities. The rings would have interior LED lighting.

The contract calls for possible revisions to the design based on further meetings with the Arts Council.

The two other Crown Center contracts to be approved Tuesday include one for just over $408,000 to Forward Space of Chicago to purchase general purpose furniture and another for $40,454 to California-based Lakeshore Learning for preschool furniture.

All three Crown contracts are to be funded from general obligation bonds issued for the new Crown Center.

The aldermen are also scheduled to approve two other recreation-relation contracts Tuesday.

One will provide $585,000 to W. Construction, Inc. of Carol Stream for interior renovations at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center.

The other provides $463,637 to Hacienda Landscaping, Inc. for the Garden Park and Playground Renovation Project.

Related stories

Panel recommends art project for Crown Center (1/18/19)

Garden Park set for renovation (10/7/18)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. I guess they ran out of ways to spend [waste] money

    It is bad enough they are over all their estimates [how many more increases] but now they want to spend more–I assume this is required by ‘law’ !  Don’t they know about sound spending ? care about tax payer ? We will see how many false promises and flays in the Center we will find out about—and more spending to fix the problems.

    1. Not additional spending

      As I figured you might have deduced from the reference in the story to the funds coming from the already-approved bonds for the center, these contracts are for items already budgeted, not cost overruns or add-ons.

      — Bill

    2. Robert Crown is on time and on budget

      Contrary to popular opinion, or the opinions of a select few who are anti-Robert Crown, the project is NOT experiencing cost overruns. Yes, as the size and scale of the project expanded to include an indoor walking/running track and a library amongst other new amenities the budget for Robert Crown increased to its current $53 mm. Robert Crown will truly be a “Crown Jewel” for Evanston and once it’s done hopefully the naysayers and “Debbie Downers” can move on to fight their next losing battle in Evanston. 

  2. Crown Center Art = Just Tires

    Can someone please enlighten me as to the “tie-in” (or is that “tire-in”) between the mission of the Crown Center and a sculpture that looks like a depiction of three tires?  Or do we have a secret plan to sell the usage rights to this to Just Tires, and use the royalties to live happily ever after, thereby negating any cost overrun concerns?

    1. Evanston has an ordinance

      Evanston has an ordinance that requires that the equivalent 1% of a public project be spent on public art. It’s why there is public art under the Metra viaduct at Emerson/Ridge/GreenBay and why there will be this piece at the new RCCC. The Friends of the Robert Crown Center has stretched its fundraising goal from the original $10 million to $15 million to cover this and other additional costs. If you would like to contribute you can do so at

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