Council members will be asked Monday to approve hiring a food service coordinator to implement concession programs at Evanston park and recreation facilities.

Parks and Recreation Director Audrey Thompson says the city has had “a multitude of missed opportunities to increase revenue” because of the lack of concession stands at rec centers and at locations like Clark Street Beach and the Arrington Lagoon.

Currently no food is available at some of those locations and others offer only vending machine snacks.

In the past some residents have fought against providing food service along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and a concession stand at the Arrington Lagoon Picnic Shelter closed several years ago.

The Arrington Lagoon Picnic Shelter, with outdoor tables added this summer., but, at least for now, no food service available.

Thompson says the members of the Economic Development Committee last month “overwhelmingly supported” the idea of creating the new staff position.

She says the new full-time worker would solicit proposals from local food establishments to run the concession operations, ensure the sites are brought up to building, food and safety codes, manage scheduling and maintenance, and implement a food cart policy.

If Council approves, Thompson says she hopes to hire the new employee this fall and have some new food service programs launched by this winter.

She says she expects revenue from the food services to “significantly” offset the new position’s cost.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Why a new full time position. Policing health standards is already a filled position and existing staff could easily handle the balance.

  2. In total agreement with Pjh & JG,

    This should be open to established Evanston restaurants (first) and food services that are already licensed and administrated by City’s Health Department – and have a track record too!

    While we are at it, why not sell beer and wine at these venues (especially @ Arrington Lagoon) … Every European city has beer on the streets and they don’t run into the kind of problems that naysayers will no doubt voice.

    Respectfully, Brian G. Becharas

  3. We’ve been waiting for this at Robert Crown since the new building opened. We have the only ice rink in the area without any type of concessions (or pro shop, for that matter!). Giddyup Evanston!!

  4. Without Park Dist or Econ Dev presenting expense data from construction companies re kitchen build and not including costs of execution and ongoing part time staffing and management, plus maintenance for multiple locations would appear somewhat offensive to suggest Council does not need/want total cost data to make a responsible decision on new Park District run food service in multiple locations. Has either dept yet conversed directly about operational costs and servicing with our own restaurants and pizza spots? Consider Food Service option: a course from NU: they franchise food services (with benefits) of various companies appropriate to different buildings; many food service companies in the larger metropolitan area. NU understands high expense of personnel hiring, salaries of staff to execute, manage, and hourly staff, plus maintenance. And a lesson from the City who recently renewed Mark Vending, same as ‘non-profit’ YMCA contracts with Mark V who added new healthy food and drink choices in Y vendateria which includes microwaves. please – do not hire another expensive consultant to conduct community surveys.

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