Recap: City Council


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

The meeting is scheduled to begin around 8 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 8:02 p.m. Seven aldermen present (Wynne and Holmes absent.)

Mayor Tisdahl discusses police complaint review process (in light of the recent police shooting events in Minnesota and Louisiana and the shooting of police officers in Texas). Complaints reviewed by the Human Services Committee at its monthly meetigs.

Mayor says Evanston has an excellent police department, not perfect but always getting better  and has many dedicated public servants.

City Manager announces appointment of new International City-County Management Association fellow.

Public Comment

Chava Wu, president of the Woman's Club of Evanston, objects to proposal to redevelop the city parking lot adjacent to the club.

Greg Weiss, resident of Homewood, says he objects to developing the parking lot.

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Louise Knight, 2634 Prairie, president of the Frances Willard Historical Association, says she understands desire to develop the property, but says need to consider many points of view and not suspend the rules to approve the sale negotiation tonight. Also says she agrees with concerns raised by the Woman's Club.

Dr. Toni Bark speaks against the use of Roundup in city park. Says MWRD has policy against using it on its properties. Says causes damage to environment.

Laurie McFarlane, wants to reduce the size of the paved alley adjacent to Ryan Field.

A number of other neighbors of the parking lot also urge a narrower alley.

Madelyne Ducre says wants to thank police who are doing their jobs and beyond, keeping many of us safe in our communities. Says there's much to be done in Evanston and the country. Says heart goes out to all families who've had a family member killed or hurt in all the shooting in the country. Says her brother is a policeman — says he says can't change world overnight, but must start locally.

Special orders of business

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, calls for compensation committee report to be referred to the Rules Committee, for its next meeting on July 25.

Says City Clerk would like his compensation referred as well.

Miller asks for further postponement because he won't be present for July 25 meeting, and that Revelle won't be available either.

After further discussion, decide to hold a special Rules Committee meeting on Aug. 1 instead.

So it's postponed until then.

A&PW Items

Because A&PW Committee didn't meet tonight, Miller moves to approve most items on the agenda with a single motion.

Rainey objects to the lack of reading the items.

Two items are removed from the consent agenda … A 3.4 — Ryan Field alley paving … and A 13 — Negotiating sale of library parking lot.

With those changes the A&PW items are approved.

Ryan Field alley paving

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, says alley looks really bad, says neighbors have reached consensus that they would prefer a one-way, 12-foot wide alley. Says that would reduce the city's cost for paving the alley. Says she supports that.

Rainey says she thinks NU ought to pay for it. Says it's not being handled as a special assessment. Says the city money could be put to other alleys where neighbors are paying their full share. 

Revelle says NU has begun design for the alley. Says has had conversations with NU about the cost — says she doesn't have such a magic touch. Urges vote this evening.

Mayor Tisdahl says parking lot has been a problem for a long time — says the rebuilding will be a major improvement for that part of town.

City manager says the alley paving has been thoroughly discussed with the university…indicates they won't pay more… if city doesn't come up with the rest, the project won't move forward.

Revelle moves approval of the 12-foot wide version.

Approved 7-0.

A 13 – Library parking lot negotiation of sale

Wilson says the city doesn't have any proposals from developers. Says people have expressed interest in buying the property. Says to get specific proposals have to get approvals from council for the city manager to talk to all interested buyers.

Says may get terrible — or awesome proposals — just don't know yet.

Suspension of the rules means can get the proposals as soon as possible.

Says this lets us get feedback right out the box — the idea of saying "no" doesn't make sense because don't know what hte proposal may be — but good to getting sense of what's important to people.

Fiske says doesn't blame people for expressing concern — but the language that's the heading of the ordinance is what has to be used.

Says the site is in the 1st Ward, but affected business owners and residents are in the 1st and 4th wards.

Says we reallly don't know what we're going to get here.

Says to adjacent property owners … that she's talked to them about potential developments in the past. Will get input from all of you. In event that development actually occurs will have protection in construction management plans. Nothing will be done in secret. Says it's important to go ahead and hear what people out in the community say. This is just getting the conversation started.

Mayor says anybody who comes with a proposal that doesn't include parking won't be looked at favorably.

Fiske says parking would need to be replaced one-to-one. 

Rainey asks what level of detail city will be asking for from potential developers?

City manager says have already been approached by several parties — would be looking for substantial detail in proposals. Says can't do any of that until the ordinance is adopted. 

Says there's been much more serious interest recently in the property than had been in the past.

Miller asks whether it's conveyance by negotiation or by bid? Says wants to be sure it will be an open process — doesn't want it to be just one entity that the city is discussing with.

City manager says that's the intent. Says have had four legitimate development concerns come forward with interest in this property in the last 30 days.

Mayor says we've been accused of many things, but never of moving too quickly.

Fiske says its important to consider the adjoining landmarked properties.

Vote to approve and suspend rule to give immediate effect is unanimous 7-0.

Remaining agenda items …

We'll note anything taken off the consent agenda for P&D, Human Services, and Rules Committees and appointments.

Taken off only the item O2 – Environment Board and Ladd Arboretum Committee merger .. at requst of staff … postponed to Aug. 15.

Consent agenda approved 7-0.

Call of the wards

Rainey … food truck festival and concert tomorrow night at Brummel Park.

Tendam … ward meeting July 28 at Three Crowns … with D65 school board president.

Asks staff to investigate whether could have community bee keeping sites at city parks.

Council goes into executive session.

Public meeting concludes at 9:31 p.m.

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