Evanston alders voter 8-1 Monday to approve a $6.8 million contract to relace the city’s half-century old animal shelter with a new one three times the size.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) cast the only dissenting vote, objecting to the cost of the project.

The low bid on the project, from CCC Holdings of Tinley Park, is $1.5 million over what the city had projected as the construction cost two years ago, but city staff say it is within the range of estimated construction cost inflation since then.

More than 20 people turned out to offer public comments on the project — with nearly twice as many favoring as opposing the plans.

Cook County has awarded the city a $2 million grant to help fund the shelter, contingent on having the new building substantially completed by Nov. 30. And the Evanston Animal Shelter Association has pledged to raise $1.025 million toward the project cost.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) said that achieving the city’s environmental goals for the new shelter building is a big factor in the relatively high cost of the building in comparison to shelters built in other communities.

And Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) said she appreciated staff efforts to “value engineer” project and trim the costs.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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