Recap: City Council


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

The meeting is scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 7:51 p.m.

Aldermen Fiske and Miller are absent.

Miller's new baby, Jackson, was born on Friday, explaining his absence tonight, Mayor Tisdahl says. 

Several city employees acknowledged for their years of service.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says Dave's Italian Kitchen has withdrawn request for a loan (Doing crowdfunding campaign instead.

Lawrence Hemingway, parks director, says may have solution for dog beach.

Says may be able to take sand from dredging the boat launch and create a new, smaller dog beach just south of the boat launch.

Says he's hopeful the new 30-yard long by 12- to 20-feet wide dog beach area won't wash away.

Plan to fence off the area to keep the dogs from floating over into the Greenwood beach "people beach' area.

Says hopes to have the new dog beach area open by Memorial Day.

City manager says Rules Committee and City Council meetings for next Monday night have been cancelled.

Public Comment

Lenice Levy, co-owner of Good to Go Jamaican Cuisine, complains that city has rejected her proposal for the 633 Howard St. police outpost. Says no other indication of interest expressed in the property until after she had submitted her proposal.

Mike Vasilko, 2728 Reese, calls for rejection of Strawdog Theatre lease at 633 Howard. Says restaurant owner rejected for no good reason in preference to Strawdog, which will be paying next to nothing for it.

Says staff is misleading the public. Costs for theater project has soared dramatically. Related story.

End of public comment

Special order of business: Roof replacement at former St. Mary's convent, 1012 Lake St.

Related story.

Damir Latinovic, of city planning staff, 

Staff recommendation is to reject appeal of preservation commission commisison denying a certificate of approporiateness for replacement of the ceramic tile roof with fiberglass shingles.

Church officials say they'd prefer the fiberglass shingle alternative, that would save $100K, half the cost of the Preservation Commission's option.

As second alternative recommends a hybrid option of clay tile on the main roof with stone coated metal tile on the chapel, which would reduce the cost about $50K.

James Wolinski, retired city community development director and St. Mary's parishoner, says parish would prefer to help the poor with the money, rather that put it into the roof.

Says change wouldn't damage the architectural integrity of the building.

Father Greg Sackowitz, pastor of St. Mary's says hopes to get a vote on the issue tonight.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, moves to accept the Preservation Commission's recommenation. Second by Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward.

Wynne says her church, only a block away from St. Mary's, has done fundraising to make its repairs. Says accepts that it's within the historic district. Says doesn't see evidence that church congregation has been asked to raise funds for this. Says she's talked to some parishoners who oppose removing the clay tile roof.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says the alternative is not an unreasonable compromise.  Says city is putting the church in the difficult position. It's not all the money in the world, he says, but would like to see the alternative.

Revelle says she'd been leaning toward the compromise proposal — but says the chapel is quite visible as you come down Lake Street from Oak Avenue. Says now looks very harmonious. Says based on historic ordinance the clay tiles are a distinctive architectural feature that should be restored.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she'll support Wilson's proposal. Alerman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, says he agrees with Wilson as well. Says no organization has spent as much supporting the arts as the Catholic Church over time.

Wynne's motion fails on 2-5 vote.

Wilson's motion for "Alternate D" (the stone-coated metal tile on the chapel roof with clay tile on the main section of the building) is approved 5-2.

Consent agenda

Off the consent agenda:

  • A 3.14 – Website design contract.
  • A 4 – Strawdog Theatre lease for 633 Howard.

Consent agenda approved.

City website design contract

Wilson asks what will be getting for the money. Says have been some website crashes and problems with paying for parks programs through the website.

Erica Storlie, deputy city manager, says the new solution will provide better backup options and keep the website up, also part of emergency management. Will be hosting in "in the cloud."

Says the content management system used now has outlived its usefulness. Says even if did it in house would need new software to do it in house.

Says the parks and recreation registration is done through a separate vendor now and would continue to be done that way.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says city has received awards for having a user-friendly website — concerned that not considering local bidders.

Storlie says more people are accessing websites through mobile devices rather than desktop computers — and current website doesn't handle that well.

Says requested bids from local vendors –but didn't get proposals back that were reasonably priced.

Approved unanimously.

Strawdog Theatre lease 633 Howard

Wilson says Fiske and Miller (who aren't here) requested holding the proposal for two weeks.

Rainey says not allowing discussion is not right. Says some things said tonight have to be addressed. Says in 30 years she's never asked for something to be held because she wasn't present.

Holmes says there was quite a discussion of this at economic development last week.

Says tonight it appears we are being asked to move this ahead with the theater project — because there's material about that in the packet.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says added the info about what's the latest discussion with Strawdog. But that's not before the council tonight and when it does come up an make a separate decision then.

Tendam says he favors having full council present for a vote on this. Says presentation at Economic Development was very confusing.

Rainey says this is just a temporary solution for Strawdog. Says the Levy's restaurant is immediately across Howard from Ward Eight and Peckish Pig.

Says put out request for letters of interest, not a request for proposals, about the 633 Howard building. Says there was no guarantee that would be selected.

Says restaurant has three years left on its lease and management company says they can't get out of it.

Braithwaite says restaurant wants to be able to purchase property rather than continue to lease. 

Tendam seconds the motion to hold the issue to the next meting.

So the matter is held.

Call of the wards

Braithwaite… 7p Thursday ward meeting at D65 HQ

Wynne … 60 people at town hall meeting last week … wonderful rodent reduction presentation, she says.

Revelle … Tuesday, May 24, American Legion Hall, ward meeting about Canal Shores Golf Course

Council goes into executive session and public meeting ends at 9:10 p.m.

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