City staff and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl will ask Evanston aldermen Monday to seek to hire a fundraising consultant to drum up $5 million to $18 million in private donations for a new or renovated Robert Crown Center.

The mayor is also asking aldermen to approve issuance of $10 million in general obligation bonds for the ice rink and community center and another $2.5 million for a planned 5,000 foot branch library at the facility as part of its 2016 budget process.

The aldermen are scheduled to get a presentation Monday from an architect retainned by the city of conceptual renderings of two options — a renovated center and a completely new building.

If aldermen approve hiring the fundraising consultant, a timeline prepared by staff suggests that the consultan would complete the fundraising process by the end of this year, that the new or renovated building would be designed in 2016, with construction beginning in 2017 and likely completed sometime in 2018.

City officials have contended for years that the 1970s-vintage ice rink needs to be substantially upgraded or replaced.

Over five years ago the city sought to partner with a private developer to build and operate a new ice rink and recreation facility to replace the now four-decade-old Crown facility.

But that plan was eventually pushed aside after price tags for the new facility came in as high as $55 million and the would-be developers insisted that the city take the financial risk of any operating revenue shortfalls.

Related stories

Crown Center rebuild shows new signs of life (10/8/14)

Council skates toward new ice rink (2/24/14)

Staff: Spend $17 million to renovate Crown (2/21/14)

New Crown Center project could be on thin ice (10/8/12)

City to seek proposals for new ice sports center (10/18/11)

Planning for new Crown Center moves ahead (3/27/11)

Council asked to take steps toward new Crown Center (1/24/11)

City-school fieldhouse plan gets support (5/30/08)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Interesting a new Branch library?

    Wonder how Burrus and Rainey will voted for this one?  They did not want to support the library budget increases.   Also some other council members who showed their luke warm support for the North Branch such as Grover, and a few others, why would they support a new branch?

    Whats more interesting here the cost is over $500 a square foot – looks like the City is over tax us to use the library budget to build Robert Crown.  More of their fiscal monkey business!  Its very interesting how they keep on over charging us on things such as this branch library and undercharging to build Patio's and their other pet projects!

  2. NU Rink

    The city should think to go into a collaborative with NU. They could use a Big 10 Hockey program and we could use a rink. They don't have space for a rink, but we do. Make it mutually beneficial for both parties. Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconson, Minnesota, Miami of Ohio are just a few teams with big programs. Why not NU?

    1. That would make the new

      That would make the new building with 2.5 rinks an absolute necessity to ensure the Community gets some use out of its own community center.

    2. A very good idea

      NW has a lot more money than the city of Evanston. Our mayor wants to build two new hockey rinks because her kids loved to play hockey. This is the mayor's reason for spending millions of taxpayer dollars. The city coffers is her make-a-wish foundation.

    3. NU Hockey
      NU hockey is not a Big 10 issue. Their hockey team is merely a club sport. Unless they change that, they won’t ever care.

      1. NU Hockey

        That's whole the point, they don't have a team and should.  Like other 1st rate schools, BC, Havard, Brown, etc…..  It's hard to have a decent program with no facilities!

        1. NU Hockey
          Yep! They SHOULD commit to it! They also have a women’s hockey team, and the Purple Line Synchro team. They ALL could then have plenty of local ice to use. They certainly are not lacking in millions of donation money. Helping Crown would be a drop in the bucket!

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