Six business groups will receive a total of $50,000 in city grants for marketing and beautification efforts under plans approved unanimously by Evanston’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday night.

The Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program project awards include:

Six business groups will receive a total of $50,000 in city grants for marketing and beautification efforts under plans approved unanimously by Evanston’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday night.

The Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program project awards include:

  • $9,000 to the Central Street Merchants Association for an advertising and public relations campaign.
  • $9,000 to the Chicago-Dempster Merchants Association to update the business district website, advertise seasonal events and add new plantings to existing planters.
  • $9,000 to CMYK Media Group, the publisher of the Shop Evanston quarterly, to produce and distribute a 24-page publication promoting four business districts.
  • $7,000 to the Dr. Hill Business Asociation for new planters and to reimburse expenses for installing a sculpture in a traffic island at a gateway to the neighborhood.
  • $7,000 to the Evanston Community Development corporation and the Church/Dodge Merchant Association for brochures, fliers and coupons and for website development for the merchants.
  • $9,000 to the Main Street Merchants Association to hire a part-time marketing director, print a coupon book, upgrade a website and conduct other activities.

All the groups that received funding were approved for grants, but city staff trimmed the recommended awards from the total of $56,008 requested to match the $50,000 annual budget for the program.

The projects still require approval of the full City Council, but since the committee includes seven of the nine aldermen, the council’s approval is likely to be routine.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, and other committee members indicated they want to receive more details about results achieved by the grants than have been required of groups receiving the business grants in previous years.

“We need to get a sense of how the money has been spent and what comes from it, so we see what works,” Grover said.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Sounds like same old give aways

    Why funds for certain merchants assoc. to advertise ? Do they have evidence this produces new business and if so not at the expense of other Evanston areas ? The same with the 24 page promotion for business districts. I can honestly say that none of the campaigns or advertisements have influenced my shopping one way or the other—businesses having something I need is what I look for and most of the time that is by looking in the Yellow Pages or online and not digging out old self-promotion literature. Unfortunately with the many areas of needs that are uncovered in Evanston, that means the train to Chicago.   
    Why pay for planters and a sculpture ? The city is not in the arts and craft business.
    Sounds like more selection of businesses the councils favors.   Cutting taxes and getting off the back of businesses where no real problem exists (sign inspection, unnecessary paper work, etc.), would help businesses a lot more.
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