Recap: City Council

How names get added to the Fountain Square War Memorial is a subject on tonight's City Council agenda.

Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council meeting.

The meeting is expected to start shortly after 7:30 p.m. A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Key items on tonight's agenda include a proposal to change the way names are added to the Fountain Square War Memorial and to declare the adopt a resolution committing aldermen to take equity training.

Meeting called to order at 7:42 p.m.

Meeting video Parts one and two

Mayor Steve Hagerty proclaims LGBTQ Pride Month this month.

Also announces passing of business owner Leon Robinson (funeral at noon Saturday, June 22), and others.

Public Comment

Begins at 7:51 p.m.

38 people signed up.

45 minutes available

Mayor says 1:15 for each person.

At 8:55 p.m. the speaker in the Council Chamber die.

At the conclusion of public comment, about 9:02 p.m., City Council votes to take a brief recess in hopes of getting the audio problem fixed.

Apparently people watching the Channel 16 video feed can hear the audio, and people in the council anteroom can here audio from the the TV set there, but there's no amplification of voices within the Council Chamber.

Meeting resumed at 9:16 p.m. Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, is credited with finding the switch on the public address system that turns the speakers back on.

SP1 - Eligibility for memorialization of service members on the Fountain Square Memorial Wall

Approved 9-0.

SP2 - Commitment to end structural racism and achieve racial equity

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, reads resolution.

Says resolution intended to start productive healing process and learning experience for City Council.

Says goal to start somewhere. Wants to used the knowledge she has to get the process moving.

Need firm commitment from leadership to get rest of government to take action.

There have been some things that have harmed our community, "even before I was born," she says.

Its a very long process, it takes time, she says.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says will support the document, asks her to open up and be more inclusive in the future.

Says would like to see this go, after the council supports it, to the Equity and Empowerment Commission -- so the commission can be involved in expanding it.

Likes the Government Alliance on Racial Equity. Thinks everybody needs to buy in on this.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says he supports the resolution.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, says Equity and Empowerment Commission has a number of efforts underway to operationalize equity in the city.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, thanks Fleming for her statement. Says has been concerned about some of the language -- that doesn't point to the work that many hundreds or thousands of people have taken over the decades.

Says it's a dynamic conversation that will go on forever.

Says doesn't want to leave with the notion that people don't care or haven't been working on this. Says its the most important conversation that we can have.

Says words matter and history matter and that things are presented correctly and appropriately. A lot of conversation will be to setting the record straight. Wants to go back and look at the history of City Council. Wants to have that discussion at the commission.

Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, thanks Fleming for leading on racial equity. Looks forward to creating a plan and a path forward.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says race the most important and difficult issue that will face as the Council. "Permeates every issue we talk about."

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, says she appreciates that very much need to do the work ahead.

Mayor Steve Hagerty thanks Fleming for the work she put into it.

Approved 9-0.

Consent agenda

Off consent ... M1 ... A3 ... A8 ... A 9 ... A16

Consent agenda approved.

M1 - Minutes ... approved as corrected

A3 - Amazon credit card activity ... approved 8-0-1. Suffredin abstatins.

A8 - 1714-1720 Chicago Avenue

Wynne says has been no changes to the project -- would be fruitless.

Requests to hold the proposal.

Revelle seconds.

So held for the next City Council meeting.

Fiske says purchase and sale agreement expires on June 12.

A9 - MWRD lease amendment for Canal Shores

Revelle says Canal Shores has been a great financial benefit to the city for decades. Says the city lease with MWRD contains several other properties and city has had to pay all the cost for those, while Canal Shores has paid the maintenance costs for the golf course property.

Says golf revenue only covers 60 percent of Canal Shores costs. Says the new arrangmenet will put a $90,000 hole in Canal Shores budget by having MWRD get the entire parking revenue from Northwestern.

Proposes six-month postponement of repayment schedule to ease cash crunch for the golf course, to June 30, 2020

Amendment approved.

Corporation Counsel Michelle Masoncup says city would be at risk of suit from MWRD for full amount it claims in owed -- in the vicinity of $245K -- if settlement not reached.

Fleming says she's not supporting it. Says have been doing parking on the course for years, doesn't understand why this only comes up now.

Approved 7-0. Fiske and Fleming vote no.

A16 - Sale of 2222 Oakton St. to Clark Street Real Estate ... for climbing gym

Rainey objects to sale. Says will get little in real estate tax. Says city will have to find 30K SF of storage space at $5 to $6 per square foot.

Says will get little if any sales tax, no liquor tax, virtually no additional revenue.

Says the deal will cost the city $149K a year.

Fiske says Stoneback tells her city will have big storage needs. Jokes that given how much interest there is in rock climbing, maybe should have added a climbing wall to the new Robert Crown Center.

Says it doesn't appear the dollars are there for this deal. Can't justify it.

Thinks rock climbing wall would add something to the community, but doesn't make sense.

Wilson says property has been used for storage for many years. Says city issued the RFP, thinks developer has come up with a quality proposal. Replacement storage issue should not come as a surprise.

Developer makes presentation.

John Shepard from First Ascent says expects to bring 300 customers to town every day -- that creates a lot of hungry customers for local restaurants, he says.

Says climbing gym is also a social space.

Andy Stein, developer, says city will get $1.1 million sales price. Also $20K in sales tax and other revenue annually .... expected in all to total $1.6M over 10 years to the city.

Says it's a 20 percent better deal than the Smylie Bros. deal for the space that ultimately fell through.

Rainey says developers haven't said anything that makes her comments any different.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the economic development opportunities are important, but there's a real cost for the storage. Says staff hasn't discounted that. But is council's decision to choose whether the active use at the site offsets that.

Fleming says have gone through the process and then at the midnight hour questions about the financial viability. Says should have discussed those issues before. Says perhaps could store stuff at another city site.

City manager says has been search for a higher and better use for the property than storage. It's a bad location or storage, he says. The proposal before you is a good use, he says, but it's ultimately a policy decision for the council.

Wilson says the building needs maintenance, needs a lot of work.

Approved 6-3. Fiske, Rue Simmons and Rainey vote no.

Call of the Wards

Rue Simmons ... 7 p.m. Wednesday ... ward meeting at Civic Center. Presentation about a Maple Avenue development.

Suffredin .. getting complaints about condition of parks ... need to find a way to mow them when the ground is wet.

Revelle ... Community meeting June 25 at 6 p.m. ...discussion with NU reps about proposal to expand types of uses allowed at Welch Ryan arena. Proposal will go to the Plan Commission on July 10.

Fleming.. ward meeting Saturday 9 a.m. at Reba Place Church.

Fiske ... makes reference to A&PW, for first meeting in July, regarding dog beach. Wants to know how much did city make from it? How many families were using it? Whether Lincoln Street beach is appropriate for it?

Braithwaite says Leon Robinson was a business giant in this town who helped many many families. 2nd Ward meeting at ETHS Day School on Hartrey this Thursday at 7p.m.

Wynne ... Equity and Empowerment Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. June 20.

Wilson ... Crown fundraiser over weekend raised about $140K. New application for 601 Davis ... community meeting upcoming early July.

Meeting adjourned at 10:48 p.m.

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