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.