Evanston city officials say they’ve received word that the city has won a $750,000 grant from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to rebuild the parking lot behind the Civic Center.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz told aldermen Monday night that MWRD offiicials contacted the city a few months ago to say that some other communities that had received grants had been unable to follow through on their projects and asking whether Evanston had any projects ready to go that might qualify for funding.

“Evanston was able to quickly take advantage of that opportunity,” Bobkiewicz says, since had already developed plans for the parking lot work.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says the plans for the new lot include using permeable paving on the parking stalls and walkways, bioswales and rain gardens — all of which meet MWRD goals by reducing water runoff into the sewer system.

The MWRD grant is expected to cover about 85 percent of the project cost.

Robinson says she anticipates the work will be completed by this fall.

Above: A warm weather aerial view of the Civic Center parking lot from Google Maps.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. The Problem with Government

    Apologies in advance for my curmudgeon thoughts and comments. When i read this article my initial response was "great", Evanston gets to update its City Hall parking lot and improve the environment. But on further reflection, my initial joy turned to despair and concern.

    Reread the article and it appears that Evanston is getting this "gift" of $750,000 because other communities can't spend the money. In addition to this grant which funds 85% of the project, the City of Evanston will need to spend another $132,000. Isn't it easy to spend other people's money? The first question that should be addressed is how urgent and important is updating a parking lot? Seriously, do we now need fancy and modernized parking lots that cost over $800,000 to improve the livability in Evanston? Would this project had been advanced if we didn't receive this "gift" of $750,000? And where does this "gift" come from? Yes, you, me and all other taxpayers. I still haven't found that mythological money tree where so many Illinois politicians pick its fruits. Anyone have the address or password, or is it located in the mysterious "cloud"?

    I just reviewed the First Installment of my Property Tax Bill – go to your files and review yours, and i noticed that the Metro Water Reclamation District of Chicago has $3.1 Billion in debt and another $1.4 Billion shortfall in their Pension and Healthcare obligations. These are big numbers. Wouldn't it be prudent to use that $750,000 to pay down some debt and improve its fiscal situation? (looking at the rest of my tax bill seems to show there is a lot of other debt, and that doesn't even include the mega problems at the State level)

    Sorry for spoiling the party, but at some point the Piper must be paid.


    1. Free Money
      Any elected official will readily accept “free money” from another taxing body (county, state or federal) because then they don’t have to answer to the”true giver” how the money was raised and ment to be spent. The only way to end this practice is to make it illegal for any taxing body to transfer funds to another taxing body.

    2. Can’t find the money tree?

      You haven't found the mythological money tree yet?  Well, silly rabbit, it's right behind you, in your back pocket.  Haven't ya ever felt those grubby little fingers picking that pocket?  They reach in multiple times every day, pretty much anytime you do anything whatsoever. 


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