Evanston alders are scheduled to vote Monday on a half-million dollar, one-year contract to keep the city’s business districts clean.

City staff say the proposal they’re recommending, from New York City-based Streetplus, was the most expensive of the three bids received. But they say the cost estimate is realistic and not likely to lead to expense-boosting change order requests down the road.

The staff memo also says the Streetplus “deep cleaning” approach best meets the city’s needs — including graffiti removal, garbage can cleaning, sticker removal and snow removal at crosswalks.

The company also plans to set up an office in Evanston at the Church Street parking garage. And by paying wages of about $20 an hour and offering health insurance benefits, the company is said to be able to “hire and retain staff who develop transferable skills and take ownership and pride in their work.”

Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak says the appearance of Evanston’s businesses districts has become “increasingly unwelcoming” and the city is too short-staffed to do the cleanup work.

He says the contractor’s employees will also be trained to report to 311 maintenance issues that are beyond the scope of their work — including tree trimming, broken lights and parking meter boxes, loose sidewalk pavers and rodent burrows.

The Streetplus crews would focus primarily on downtown Evanston, Main Street from Hinman to Maple avenues and Howard Street from the CTA tracks to Ridge Avenue.

They would also provide more limited service to the Church and Dodge intersection, Dempster Street from Hinman to Elmwood avenues and Central Street from Eastwood to Hartrey avenues.

Streetplus says it provides similar services to nearly 90 business districts in 14 states, including working since 2013 for the Chicago Loop Alliance to service the State Street Special Service Area.

Funding for the program is to come from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act grant, which means a new funding source will have to be found to continue the program in future years.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Why not stop giving the panhandlers money and instead give them brooms & rags to work on this team? That way, they’ll get money in exchange for the work they do rather than from harassing people for spare change.

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