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

Meeting called to order at 8:35 p.m.

Health Director Evonda Thomas announces new Women Out Walking program starting next month. More info here. Says about 1,000 women participated last year. 

Kate Todd, executive assistant to the city manager, on city 150th anniversary item items available for sale in the city clerk’s office. …shopping bags for $5 … magnets for $2 … pin for $1.

Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, suggests t-shirts … possibly other clothing items.

City Clerk Rodney Greene reminds candidates that campaign signs should not be placed in the parkway.

Citizen Comment

Dick Peach of Chamber of Commerce supports plans for Peckish One on Howard Street.

Member of mental health board supports the proposed case management agreement with Presence Behavioral Health. Suggests should revise to include metrics for measuring performance and have mental health board review the performance quarterly.

Jamie Evans, co-owner of proposed Peckish One on Howard Street, speaks in support of the proposal. Says convinced the market is there for the restaurant and brew pub they’re proposing. (Several other members of the Peckish One team also speaking in favor of the proposal.)

After an extended delay, caused by a speaker who refused to relinquish the microphone when ruled out of order by the mayor, a couple of speakers spoke in favor of new gun control regulations.

Junad Rizki says city needs to audit the water plant. Says can’t see how expansion will be fair to local taxpayers and currently envisioned.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says city is not operating water fund at a loss now and all the issues being raised will be discussed.

Special order of business

Mental Health Services case management agreement with Presence Behavioral Health.

Related story here.

Presentation on the issue made by Health Director Evonda Thomas Smith.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says need appears to be bigger than the scope of this proposal.

Asks how are going to make sure that people get the services then need in their homes? How will measure success?

Frank Perham from Presense says they already have an existing network of crisis services. Would extend to Evanston at cost and on a trial basis. Says Presense is the designated mental health facility for Evanston. Says have lost alliance with the mental health board and the city over the past 20 years or so.

Says want to get back into connection with the city. Have 20 people on staff, he says.

Says thinks the proposal could relieve abuse of 911 and reduce the wait times in the emergency room. Says with federal reimbursement the program can bring extra revenue to the state of illinois.

Says will work with a variety of agencies in the community to saturate the community with awareness of the service.

Says will reach out to people who’ve been calling 911 to persuade them to call the mental health crisis line instead.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, asks how this will compete with or complement the mental health servies provided by Erie Family Health.

Thomas Smith says Erie won’t provide a 24-hour hotline, but Presence will do referrals to Erie.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she encountered a serious animal hoarding issue this summer that made her very aware of the need in this area.

Approved unanimously.

Economic Development Work Plan

City manager makes brief presentation — says want to focus on “quality of place” as a theme for economic development activity. Also want to increase partnerships with other organizations to provide workforce development activities.

Fiske praises plan, says shows staff now really understands how Evanston operates.”Couldn’t be more pleased,” she says.

Plan adopted unanimously.

Consent agenda

Items removed from consent agenda:

  • ATR Transmissions contract
  • CPAH HOME application

Consent agenda approved.

Grover explains that APW committee declined to approve the bid — only one bidder, heard complaint from local business owner about inadequacy of bid specifications.

Wilson says may be difficult to get bidders in future if reject it now.

Bobkiewicz recaps issues raised during committee discussion.

No action taken, because committee rejected the bid.

Fiske says CPAH HOME application was held in committee.

Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, says there is a need to take action on this, because of deadline for commiting federal funds.

Grover should look at questions of cost of waiting for city approval of specific property .. and look more closely at the land trust model.

Call of the wards

Rainey says city is in discussion with Culvers about opening restaurant here in the Howard-Hartrey shopping center.

Fiske… Tuesday March 5 7p at EPL…ward meeting

Burrus … March 14 … ward meeting. 

Wynne … town hall meeting March 14 at Lincoln School … 7p

Council votes to go into executive session.

Public meeting ends at 10:57 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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