Issues around a range of development projects in Evanston dominated the discussion in this week’s edition of “The Reporters.”

Topics included the proposed City Lit Theatre development on Howard Street, the demolition of the Heii and Heil building on Chicago Avenue, the Chicago-Main tax increment financing district and the proposed “high line” bike path that could be part of it, and two new restaurant projects that have gotten city assistance — the Chicken and Waffles restaurant on Dempster STreet and the Ward Eight wine bar on Howard Street.

The show, produced by ECTV, features reporters Bob Seidenberg of the Evanston Review, Shawn Jones of the Evanston RoundTable, Jennifer Fisher of Evanston Patch and Bill Smith of Evanston Now.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Wine and Cheese Bar cost

    I FOI for information on the Wine and Cheese Bar – in running up all the numbers – the city of Evanston used $600,000 of tax payer money for this project in hard cost. and i would estimate a $100,000 in soft cost that is staff's time.  The program is suggesting several hundred thousand dollars in cost, but given the Wine and Cheese Bar now is old news no one is looking back at how much was spent.

    Everyone needs to clearly understand we are the proud owners of a wine and cheese bar.

  2. Transparency redux?

    It’s always fun to experience an idea, like “The Reporters,” morphing into something of substance. As one of the co-producers of “The Reporters,” it’s especially gratifying to watch the talented reporters from four Evanston publications animate an idea intended to fill a void. Our reporters, while laughing and enjoying themselves, invite the viewers to penetrate into the more subtle stories behind the week’s news while enduring less pain upon contact. On another level, this show represents an adaptive collaboration and an intelligent way of leveraging our community’s communication assets for everyone’s benefit. But, let’s understand the changed communications environment in which “The Reporters” emerges. Transparency in local government is more of an illusion when hours of un-interpreted televised meetings and pounds of City-sourced meeting handouts are offset by closed sessions and deal-making behind the curtains. The community has largely accepted the demise of the products of traditional “public access” tv as it was practiced here. Wally jumped on the assets of a dead horse when he pulled assets out of ECTV for his own programs. The inattentive new green aldermen and years of unprofessional leadership and accountability at any level at ECTV assured that a canyon-like void would be left in its place. Suffice it to say that it was a double-edged sword that brought us here. It would be a mistake, therefore, to think that numbing televised hours of public meetings and pounds of pdf’s from the city’s website will suffice as the substance of enlightened dialogue for a community with an appetite like Evanston’s. Want to cut to the chase ?… stay tuned to “The Reporters” at the end of every week in which the Council meets. You'll laugh. You'll cry.

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