City to seek donors for new ice rink


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.

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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)

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