Evanston’s Human Services Committee is scheduled tonight to consider opening up more opportunities for groups to hold special events on the lakefront.

The city has limited the number of lakefront events to a dozen a year since 2003, because of complaints from residents along the lakefront about noise and congestion.

But recently Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, proposed reconsidering the limit, suggesting that, among other things, the city should do more to encourage healthy events, like the 5K Turkey Trot run she participated in last month.

In response Parks Director Doug Gaynor has come up with a proposal that would reclassify several events now held on the lakefront as “low impact” events that would no longer count against the 12 event limit.

The “low impact” events would includes several walk or running events that pass through the lakefront park area but start and finish elsewhere.

It would also include a number of events in Dawes Park and Centennial Park on the lakefront that crowds of a few hundred people — including the Starlight Concert Series, movies in the park and the Evanston Environmental Association’s Duck Race and Pluck.

Five events that would be considered “high impact” and count against the revised limit include the Fourth of July fireworks, the Ethnic Art and Lakeshore Art festivals, the North Shore Century bike race and the Turkey Trot run held for the first time last month.

Those events draw crowds estimated at between 1,500 and 20,000 people to the lakefront.

The Human Services Committee meets at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at the Civic Center.

Top: Lakefront bike paths could see more use if aldermen approve adding more special events (file photo).

Related document

Staff memo on special events (.pdf)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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