Evanston aldermen Monday night took actions required to commit the city to borrow up to $50 million to fund construction of the new Robert Crown Community Center.

They voted 7-0 to introduce an ordinance authorizing the bond sale for the project and approved a resolution raising the city’s debt limit to accommodate the sale.

Final approval to issue the bonds will require another vote at the July 9 Council meeting.

Issuance of the bonds for the Crown Center would be split between this year and next.

Only a few people turned out to comment on the proposed bond sale and they split on the merits of the idea. A couple of those who spoke against the Crown funding suggested the city should spend the money instead to build affordable housing.

One aldermen who wasn’t at the meeting, Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, sent an email to her constituents saying the city should “make more efforts to raise revenue prior to bonding.”

She also suggested the city should develop a “pay-as-you-go capital improvement plan” and consider liquidating city assets and impose spending restrictions to reduce borrowing.

The non-profit Friends of the Robert Crown Center announced at the meeting that it has now raised over $11.4 million and hopes to raise $15 million toward the project before it’s done.

Depending on how quickly pledges to the Friends group are redeemed, the city may be able to reduce the total it borrows for the project.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. What would Mount Prospect or Barrington do?

    The city council selected for themselves a lavish design & materials facility over a simply fine utilitarian design & materials facility and,more irresponsibly, did so without referendum for us.  This lavish debt over utilitarian debt is again over the backs of us here now AND the forthcoming generation of young adults to follow… if bothering to come here at all to subsidize long-term debt.  And the next $50mm gen ob bond after this one will finally be for Police Fire Streets & San pension, right?  And the size of multi-lingual support staff for schools and teacher salaires won’t be needing a third $50mm bond issuance, right?  And, finally, Robert Crown generates how much revenue for us yearly?  I see no CPAs here.  What is my missing piece?  

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