Evanston aldermen this evening will discuss a plan to require owners of vacant storefronts to change how they cover the shop windows.

Until now the city has required that windows of vacant storefronts be covered with paper to block the view inside.

The new proposal would require printed plastic film or vinyl instead and would encourage art or product displays as an alternative.

In a memo to aldermen, Economic Development Specialist Katheryn Boden says, “The appearance of these storefronts is important to maintaining the character of Evanston’s commercial districts.”

No estimate of the cost to property owners of complying with the new rules was provided in the staff memo.

The new measure was first discussed in September as part of a package of economic development strategies for responding to the pandemic-induced decline in storefront retail business.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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