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Council approves new museum

The Evanston City Council this evening voted to approve plans to turn the former Catholic Women's Club at 1560 Oak Ave. into a museum featuring antique time pieces and Tiffany stained glass windows.

1560 Oak Ave.

The Catholic Women's Club, 1560 Oak Ave.

The museum would be owned by Cameel Halim, a real estate investor who owns the Carlson Building and other properties in Evanston.

His plans call for restoring the Evanston landmark property and adding a three story addition at the rear of the property to house some of the largest clocks and windows that wouldn't fit in the existing building.

Mr. Halim said the museum would have a dining area for catered events but does not plan to operate a restaurant or offer take-out food service.

The museum requires a special use permit because it is located in a residential zone.

A neighbor, John Cleave of 1109 Grove St. asked for some consideration for residents regarding on street parking, and Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, the head of the council's Parking Committee said that once the museum is open the city would be willing to consider setting up resident parking restrictions on the street if the neighbors want it.

Several aldermen said they were pleased with the museum proposal, noting that zoning would allow replacing the women's club with an eight-story condominium building.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the museum represents "almost unbelievable good fortune for the city. It's a very special and unique collection." In addition, the alderman said, the new use will place the property back on the tax rolls.

1414 Davis St.

The aldermen also unanimously gave preliminary approval to a request from owners Rebecca Kuchar and Scott Small that their house at 1414 Davis St. be designated an Evanston Landmark. The Craftsman style house built in 1908, which is located in the Ridge Historic District, has been approved for the landmark designation by the city's Preservation Commission.

Parks

The aldermen also approved plans to spend $297,543 to renovate Megowen Park, located in the 500 block of Hinman Avenue, and to spend $369,875 to renovate Smith Park, located at Ashland Avenue and Lyons St. Both projects are scheduled for completion this year.

Correction (posted 5/9/07):

Alderman Rainey today informed us that she misspoke when she said at the April 10 City Council meeting that the Catholic Women's Club property has been off the tax rolls. She said she has since learned that the property has been taxable and paid just over $16,000 in property taxes in the past year.

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