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Downtown Evanston cuts ribbon for new office

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl joined officials of the Downtown Evanston marketing organization this afternoon to cut the ribbon at the group’s new office at 820 Davis St.

The ceremony followed a public board meeting of the group, formerly known as EvMark, at which Executive Director Carolyn Dellutri outlined the group’s goals for the coming year — including developing a gift card program that would let customers get discounts at a wide range of downtown businesses.

Dellutri said a variety of details for the program still need to be worked out, but the group’s chairman, Dan Kelch, the owner of Lulu’s restaurant, said he’s convinced the program is going to happen.

Dellutri says the organization is also working to achieve a variety of goals for downtown ranging from expanding the mix of businesses and office space, promoting performing and visual arts — including possibly developing vacant space in the former Varsity Theater building as a performance space — and strengthening ties between downtown, the city and the university.

The group also elected 23 members to the its board, including three new members — Marybeth Rhebergen of Grubb & Ellis, Barbara Klein of the Hilton Garden Inn and Maggie Noonen of Wine Styles.

Dellutri says the group is continuing efforts to bring new businesses to downtown. She said the area has basically held steading in the past year — with about 25 businesses closing, but another 25 new businesses opening.

She said the group is also developing new banners to hang on downtown light poles that will provide an opportunity for businesses to add their names as sponsors of the banners.

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