Owners of Hewn, the bakery at 810 Dempster St., are seeking Evanston City Council approval to bring back the parklet they debuted last summer for a new, four-year run.

The temporary park occupies two parking spaces in front of the shop and was paid for largely by a Kickstarter campaign the bakery ran last year that drew more than 150 donors.

Johanna Nyden of the city’s economic development staff said the lost city revenue from the two metered parking spaces amounts to about $800 for the planned April to November parklet season, and the staff is recommending a transfer of that amount from the city’s economic development fund to the parking fund to cover that cost.

Hewn owner Julie Matthei said the bakery has paid for the cost of storing the park structure over the winter and also carries liability insurance for it.

The parklet, unlike the sidewalk cafes seen across Evanston, is not limited to Hewn customers and can be used by anyone in the neighborhood. While parklet users might eat a pastry they bought at the bakery while sitting at the parklet, there’s no table service from the bakery to the parklet.

Parklet architect Julie Petrick with Hewn co-owners Julie Matthei and Ellen King and builder Scott Simpson at the parklet dedication ceremony last summer.

The parklet concept reportedly began a decade ago in San Francisco and then spread to Portland, Ore. The first one in this area opened in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood in 2013.

The Transportation and Parking Committee voted Wednesday night to recommend City Council approval of the four-year extension of the parklet’s run.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Was it used

    Of the 25 to 35 times I passed that area last year only saw an empty parklet. Maybe it was used when I wasn't there. I feel it was a waste of time and a loss to other businesses on either side of the street. In addition it doesn't make any difference what city department the $800 missing dollars is funded from, it is still $800 wasted taxpayer dollars.

    The Hewn should pay the $800, not any city funding, (maybe another fundraiser) and the city should get the approval from other businesses in the 1 block stretch.

    1. We love the parklet!
      My family regularly enjoys the parklet and my two girls love stopping there. We passed the parklet every weekday last summer on our walks to and from my older daughter’s preschool and we often saw it with people sitting (and looking very happy!).

      1. Like I said, there could have

        Like I said, there could have been people there when I wasn't. I am glad that your family enjoyed the parklet.

        The decision should be up tp all the businesses in that area. The parking is there for all of them and there is no way the taxpayers should be paying for this. It should be paid by Hewn and whoever they can get to chip in.

        Would you chip in part of the $800?

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