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The Evanston Art Center has withdrawn its request for a $500,000 loan from the city to help buy its new headquarters at 1717 Central St.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz this evening announced that the center’s officials withdrew the loan request this afternoon after obtaining the remaining financing to close on the purchase of the $2 million building from another source.

The center had previously secured a commitment from First Bank & Trust to provide a $1.5 million mortgage to cover most of the purchase price.

That eliminates the need for City Council debate on the proposal, which had been scheduled to take place at next Monday’s council meeting.

Norah Diedrich, the art center’s executive director, told aldermen Monday night that the center had raised $1.6 million in just over two months of a capital campaign for the project — the center’s first capital fundraising effort in several decades.

Diedrich says that in addition to the purchase price of the vacant office building, the center also needs to raise an additional $1.8 million to renovate the building for a scheduled opening on May 1 next year.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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3 Comments

  1. I am glad that they were able

    I am glad that they were able to obtain enough funds to make their purchase. I guess there was enough donations from the Evanston elite.

  2. Good news

    I am glad to see the Art Center was able to get their funding – I suspect the city does not have the money – the reality is the city would have had to borrow the money or misuse another funds money.

    Wally was not too clear on were the funds were coming from.

    The truth is the city leadership is a mess – that is they are not telling us what is really going on with the funds, Council members and the mayor just want Wally to keep on giving them funds for their pet projects, Wally did that recently with the Patio, which he end up making a mess, which show us, they are misusing the funds under $20,000. for their pet projects.

    We need a complete accounting of the economic development fund and soon.

    Anyone think that they care, can go see the Next Theater – lease and loan, which shows a complete lack of fiscal responsibility give they were behind on the rent and you sign a new lease. By the way anyone know if Chicken and waffles has caught up on their payments? ( Wally?)

    1. Scratching my head

      One wonders why Wally is slated to get a 3+% raise given his screw ups. I agree more transparency is needed from the city government. Let me make clear however that I'm not always opposed to the city supporting important cultural programs (as other frequent posters on this site may feel), however, given the inability of the EAC to manage their prior location (I don't have a lot of confidence that they would be able to pay their debts on time), the city really needs to be more careful in providing financing and they need to provide detailed reasons for their decisions.

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