The City of Evanston is seeking a $2.5 million federal planning grant to help build a 67-unit low income housing development on the city’s west side.

The City of Evanston is seeking a $2.5 million federal planning grant to help build a 67-unit low income housing development on the city’s west side.

A ‘conceptual rendering’ of the proposed development from the grant application. The view is looking southwest, with Foster Street on the right and Emerson Street on the left. The existing Jacob Blake senior housing development is shown on the north side of Emerson at the top of the rendering.

The proposal to the Housing and Urban Development Department’s Community Challenge Planning Grant Program was submitted this week.

It marks a major revision of plans for redeveloping land along the former Mayfair railroad right of way between Foster and Emerson streets that had been envisioned three years ago as a privately-financed mixed-income development of 137 housing units.

The tinted areas on the aerial photo show the planned development site. The grant application says the city owns or has site control of the parcels shown in brown, but would need to acquire the ones tinted red.

The new grant request proposes to piggy-back on a portion of the $18 million NSP2 grant that the city received from the federal government early this year.

The city had initially requested more than $40 million in that grant application to both rehab about 100 foreclosed housing units and build new housing on the site that includes the former Bishop Freeman industrial building. But the federal government directed that the money it did award the city needed to be spent first on the rehab work and only money left over from that could be devoted to the new construction project.

The new grant request indicates that almost all of the new housing to be built would be designed to be affordable to persons making 60 percent or less of the median income in the Chicago metro area. It says the new units would provide housing for about 200 people and that those new residents would become new customers for local businesses.

The grant money would be used for property acquisition, environmental remediation and infrastructure development.

In line with the West Evanston Master Plan for the area, the project also envisions adding or rerouting streets that were never connected because of the rail line that once ran through the neighborood

In its application the city claims that the new grant money would let it move forward with the project in a single phase, saving $1.9 million over the cost of a multi-phase approach.

The city has also scheduled a walk-through of the project site with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky for next Wednesday afternoon.

Related stories

Questions raised about housing grant (2/12/2010)

Evanston gets $18 million housing grant (1/14/2010)

New west-side housing plan goes ‘green’ (11/1/2007)

More housing planned for west side (12/11/2006)

Related documents

The new grant proposal (.pdf)

The West Evanston Master Plan

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Examine City Budget/Spending Record First

    I hope the people reviewing the application look at how Evanston Council and other groups have handled the budget [failure to make cuts even when obvious], necessary cuts, special interest projects—lack of standing up to them—‘picking winners’ [who have mostly turned out to be losers].

    This would not be a record to make me conclude funds will be spent wisely.  If all the special interest had been ignored, reasonable salary/benefit decisions made over the years and a budget based on operating the city vs. special interest, junk sculptures and the like, maybe we would not need grants for projects like this both because of lack of the need for exterior funding and because the local economy was sound enough that jobs existed for those this project is plannned for.

    Instead business has been scared and taxed out of Evanston—-along with citizens who have already [and will continue] to abandon the city because of crime, taxes and the sword over our head.

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