Evanston aldermen this year have voted to spend over $10 million on economic development activities.

That’s only about 4 percent of the city’s total annual spending of more than $250 million.

But the pace of such spending — now that the aldermen have declared economic development their top priority and dramatically increased the staff working on development efforts — is giving some residents and some aldermen pause.

The money for the spending comes from a wide range of sources — from federal grants to property taxes collected by tax increment financing districts and from the city’s hotel-motel tax to its parking fund.

Here are the three biggest projects approved so far this year:

1. Emerson Square

On May 14 the City Council approved spending $1.5 million to acquire the former Bishop-Freeman factory site on Foster Street for redevelopment as mixed-income housing.

Overall the project is expected to involve $3.1 million in city funds, including $2.1 million from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant, $600,000 from the West Evanston TIF, $300,000 from the federal HOME program grant and $100,000 from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund.

2. Trader Joe’s lot

Aldermen voted May 7 to spend $2.05 million from the city’s Parking Fund to acquire property at 1223-25 and 1229 Chicago Ave. that will be leased for 70 years as a parking lot for the planned Trader Joe’s market for a one-time license fee of $50,000 to be paid by the developer.

3. Dempster-Dodge TIF

The City Council voted 6-2 on June 25 to create a new tax increment financing district for the Dempster Plaza shopping center. A city consultant estimates the development could capture $23 million in new tax revenue for development projects at the plaza over the 23-year life of the TIF. A prelimary proposal approved 5-3 by aldermen anticipates spending $2 million from the TIF on improvements to the shopping center in the near term.

Beyond those big three projects, much of the rest of the city’s economic development activity is paid for by the fund of the same name.

Economic Development Fund

The Economic Development Fund was budgeted to spend about $1.9 million for 2012, not including transfers from the fund’s balance to other city funds.

Roughly $658,000 of the spending will go to staff salaries and fringe benefit with another $207,000 for consultants and $50,000 for travel, memberships, furniture and other miscellaneous costs.

That leaves just under $1 million for loans, grants and other forms of direct assistance to businesses.

The City Council also increased the fund’s budget by $110,000 on June 11 to pay for a sidewalk paving project on Central Street.

Most revenue for the Economic Development Fund comes from the city’s hotel-motel tax.

The funds activities are divided into several smaller accounts.

Business Attraction and Expansion Investment Account

The Economic Development Fund’s Business Attraction and Expansion Investment Account is budgeted at $500,000. As of today, $325,500 — or 65 percent of the total — has been committed to projects.

The biggest slice is being spent to bring a new restaurant to Evanston.

Based on a City Council vote May 14, the Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles will get a loan of $200,000 for build-out costs for the proposed restaurant at 2424 Dempster St. The city’s participation represents about 26 percent of the projected $764,000 cost of purchasing and developing the property.

Partnership Contribution Account

The Economic Development Partnership Contribution Account is budgeted at $280,000. As of today, $123,550 — or 44 percent of the total — has been commited to various projects.

Those projects include:

  • A projected $100,000 to the Technology Innovation Center at 820 Davis St. The second quarterly $25,000 payment was approved by City Council June 11.
  • A $35,050 grant to Now We’re Cookin’ at 1601 Payne St. to expand its shared kitchen business into a full-service food industry business incubator. The grant, approved Monday by the City Council on a 4-4 vote with the mayor breaking the tie in favor of the project, represents 52 percent of the projected first year cost of the expansion project, with the rest to be funded by Now We’re Cookin’. The business expects to also request further grants in years two and three of the project.

Business District Improvement Fund

The Business District Improvement Fund, budgeted at $147,000 for 2012, is subdivided into two program accounts, the Facade Improvement Program and the Great Merchant Grants program.

Facade Improvement Program

The Facade Improvement Program is budgeted at $75,000 for 2012, of which $35,482 — or 47 percent of the total — has been committed to various projects. The money awarded is designated as loans that are forgiven if the businesses meet certain conditions and the city funds are limited to 50 percent of the cost of each project.

Those projects include: 

  • Evanston Festival Theatre, 600 Main St. — Request for $2,250 for new exterior lighting fixtures. Approved by City Council Feb. 13.
  • Bossell Imports, 1905 Church St. — Request for $1,400 for repainting, new signage and a larger front window. Approved by City Council Feb. 13.
  • Hecky’s BBQ, 1902 Green Bay Road — Request for $11,500 for new windows, door, signage, lighting and masonry work. Approved by City Council Feb. 13.
  • IRMCO, 2117 Greenleaf St. — Request for $13,943.69 for renovations to its factory building facade. Approved by City Council Feb. 13.
  • Unicorn Cafe, 1732 Sherman Ave. — Request for $1,050 for a new fabric awning on the existing metal frame. Approved by City Council June 11.
  • Studio SLK, 1934 Maple Ave. — Request for $1,318 for replacement of the salon’s awning and tuckpointing, painting and other facade work. Approved by City Council July 23.

Tonight the Economic Development Committee is scheduled to consider two additional facade improvement requests.

  • Minasian Rug Company, 1244 Chicago Ave. — Request for $5,250 to replace awnings and repaint the storefront.
  • Found Restaurant, 1631 Chicago Ave. — Request for $8,520 to replace existing glass in the storefront with bi-fold window-doors.

Great Merchants Grants

This program, intended for neighborhood shopping districts, is budgeted at $72,000 with $46,725 or 65 percent of the funds already allocated.

  • Chicago-Dempster Merchants Association — On Jan. 9 the City Council approved a request for $9,000 for plantings, banners, sidewalk sale advertising and holiday decorations.
  • Dr. Hill Business Association — On Jan. 9 the City Council approved a request for $9,000 for sculpture maintenance, planters and a “Dogs on Parade” promotional event.
  • Evanston West Village Business Association — On Jan. 9 the City Council approved a request for $9,000 for a promotional merchant booklet.
  • Howard Street Business Association — On Jan. 9 the City Council approved a request for $7,000 for plantings, holiday lights and website development.
  • Main Street Merchants Association — On Jan. 9 the City Council approved a request for $7,300 for a merchant coupon book and website mainenance.
  • West End Business District — On Feb. 13 the City Council approved a request for $5,425 for planters and plantings and website development.

Service Agreements and Contracts

Economic Development Fund service agreements and contracts account is budgeted at $65,500 for the year.

Tax increment financing districts

Tax increment finance districts are also a common source of funding for economic development projects.

West Evanston Tax Increment Financing District

So far this year the City Council this year has agreed to spend $649,500 from the West Evanston TIF for several projects:

  • Evanston North Shore Contractors Cooperative, 1817 Church St. — On Jan. 9 the City Council approved a $200,000 loan from the TIF to assist in the establishment of a home services/building trades incubator. It also approved selling the vacant building to the cooperative for $1.
  • 1817 Church St. — On Jan 9 the City Council voted to reinburse HUD $220,000 for the CDBG funds used in the failed African-American history museum project at this site. The repaid funds will be available for use elsewhere in the community for other projects.
  • IRMCO, 2117 Greenleaf St. — On Feb. 13 the City Council approved a $63,000 construction loan to this manufacturer of lubricants to enhance its production capabilities. 
  • Strange Lofts, 1615 Church St. — On Feb. 13 the City Council approved a request for $16,500 for new awnings and lighting.
  • Aldermen voted June 11 to spend $150,000 from the West Evanston TIF to acquire a vacant lot at 1801-05 Church St. that formerly was the site of a gas station.

Washington National Tax Increment Financing District

Aldermen have agreed to spend $67,475 from this TIF district in downtown Evanston:

  • 1706-10 Sherman Ave. — Request for $9,500 for tuck pointing and tile and masonry repairs to the facade of the former Varsity Theatre building. Approved by City Council Feb. 13.
  • Davis Street TIF extension — On Feb. 13 the City Council approved spending $31,000 from the TIF to have the city’s TIF consultant, Kane McKenna and Associates, investigate whether the city should expand the district to include areas along Davis Street from Benson to Oak avenues.
  • Downtown Performing Arts District Study — The City Council approved a $100,000 consulting contract for this study May 14. A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts covers half the cost, with the rest split equally between the Washington National TIF district ant the city’s Economic Development Fund. 
  • Koi Restaurant, 624 Davis St. — Request for $1,975 for as a 50/50 match for an air curtain along the top of the windows of its front wall to comply with Health Department requirements for having the unscreened windows open during operating hours. Funded by the Washington National TIF and approved by City Council June 11.

Other funds

  • Aldermen voted Feb 27 for a complex rent-to-own plan for a new wine bar in a city-owned building at 729-31 Howard St. The plan involves a $130,000 loan from federal Community Development Block Grant funds for bar furnishings to be repaid over 10 years at 4 percent interest, a $100,000 grant funded by general obligation bonds to be repaid from tax increment financing district revenue to upgrade the retail space, subsidized rent on a two-bedroom apartment over the bar and a five-year lease on the retail space with an option to purchase the entire building after three years, with the rent to be applied as a downpayment on the purchase price — amounting to a subsidy of about $72,000.
  • Aldermen voted July 9 to spend $15,000 this year from the City Manager’s Contingency Fund and $10,000 next year to develop an “Evanston Roadmap for the Arts.”

Projects not yet approved

  • The City Council decided June 11 to temporarily withdraw plans for a TIF for the Chicago-Main shopping district with an eye toward expanding the boundaries of the proposed district.
  • Aldermen told the city manager June 11 to keep working on a new plan for operation of the Noyes Cultural Arts Center to fully cover the costs of operating the space that provides venues for performing arts groups and individual artists.
  • Aldermen told the city manager June 25 to keep negotiating a potential lease-to-own agreement with Chicago’s City Lit Theater Company for a city-owned building at 727-29 Howard St. Based on a preliminary term sheet for the deal prepared in January, it appears that project could involve a city subsidy of as much as $700,000 over a three-year period.
  • Aldermen told the city manager July 9 to continue negotiating a potential lease of the former recycling center building to a coalition of youth sports organizations that want to develop it as an indoor sports training facility.

The key questions, of course, are whether the city’s spending on economic development yields an attractive return to taxpayers and how to tell in advance which proposals are good ones. A closeer look at those issues in a future report.

Related documents

Economic Development Plan 2012-2014

Revisions to Facade Improvement Program (adopted 3/19/12)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Subsidized rent on a two-bedroom apartment?

    Bill so we are subsidizing the rent on the apartment over the so called Wine and Cheese Bar on Howard Street?

    What new suprises will we hear on this project?  It not enough that the entire project is a give away of our tax dollars?  The so called tenants appear to have none of their own funds in this project? 

    What measurement of economic development does this so called Wine and Cheese Bar have? Will this turn any profit? Given that they appear to have to pay nothing upfront, what monthly payments will this tenant have to pay? Are there any payment required?

    What value is this mess for the taxpayers of Evanston?

    No wonder when I said at Council we need to monitor the rent payments on this no one responded, what is the so called subsidized?  Complete free rent? or what?

    There are a long list of project the so called economic development staff has created here with Wally's help, that have no pay off for the tax payers, they are nothing more than giving our money away. No intelligent business person or bank would give many of these project a penny.  What is more interesting Wally keeps screwing up, things that are basic to running the city.He has no funds to fix public buildings and plans to sell off a lake front park building.

    The blame here is more on the leadership that has given Wally this direction, and allowed him to create all this waste.

    1. Check the so-called link

      So-Called Ponzi asks:

      What is the so-called subsidized?  Complete free rent? or what?

      Well, Ponzi, had you refreshed your memory by following the link Bill provided in the article – or simply recalled the Council meeting in question – you would know the Council voted to "… let the couple rent a two-bedroom apartment over the bar for $958 a month for the next year."

      Also, regarding the bar itself, they agreed to "provide a five-year lease on the first floor space with an option to purchase the entire building after three years. The lease would be rent-free in the first year, with the $24,000 a year to be paid in the second and third years applicable as a downpayment on purchase of the property for a total of $362,650 at the end of the third year."

      I fail to see what is unclear about that.

      I'm amused by your overuse of the term "so-called." The "so-called" wine and cheese bar? It is planned to be a wine and cheese bar, nothing so-called about it, unless you have some knowledge of their Hidden Agenda: secretly harvesting organs of Evanston taxpayers to sell on the black market, funding the Council's retirements.

      1. link

        I see quite a few freebies here – 1st year rent free on the lease space in  the amount of $12,000.  – a two bed apartment being rent for $958. which appears to be below market ( anyone want to comment?)

        Will this business even be able to survive with the free rent, and other give aways?

        There must be readers of this site in that could run some rough numbers, how much business per day would this Wine and Cheese bar need to stay in business.

        We are all owners of this business since the city chose to put our tax dollars into it.

         Maybe you can find the link and post what the city projected for revenues verse expenses?

        How much wine and cheese will needed to sold daily?

        Looking at what I see, They need to be paying back the loan – on the fixtures in 10 years thats about $13,000 a year. add after the first year they need to pay $12,000 for the rent. So we are talking about $2000 a month – Lets add in another $1,000

         I do not know the cost versus expenses of the wine and cheese and other items need to run this business, but lets assume 20%So they would have to sell $15,000 in wine and cheese a month to pay the $3,000 back. Given the owners want to have something to live on i supect they would need to sell close to $30,000 a month.Or roughly $1,000 a day. As I recall this business has limited seating – and Wine and cheese does not sell all day – so I think if my number is some what in the range, this is going to be tough.

        Anyone else have any other projedcts, while I using the wine and cheese bar as an example it appears to me many of the other economic activities have just as questionable numbers.

  2. Subsidies….again

    In a post on another story, I describe how subsidizing anything always results in getting more of it.  Reading this list, it appears my words were a few years too late.

  3. This is an Embarrassment

    You would think the Council would see this list and be embarrassed with how they are giving the taxpayer money away.

    They were not elected [really selected by the one party system in Evanston] to be investment bankers and experts on planning.  They should get back to their own business [fixing pipe, cutting trees, plowing snow] and leave the residents and businesses to shape the city—the Council certainly has not done a good job of it.

  4. Great investments for the city

    "$2.05 million from the city's Parking Fund to acquire property at 1223-25 and 1229 Chicago Ave. that will be leased for 70 years as a parking lot for the planned Trader Joe's market for a one-time license fee of $50,000 to be paid by the developer."

    I think I have a 5 x 5 foot area the city can have for $100,000 and I'll make a one time $1 rent to them.

    Sounds like a good deal given what the Council has been spending !

  5. Great investments indeed.

    Bill, I see a lot of post essentially stating that the residential taxpayer is getting screwed over by subsidizing business development.  But it seems that the overwhelming majority of the funding comes directly from business & commercial taxpayers, ie hotel taxes,  with those monies reinvested back into expanding more business/commercial development.

    And since business/commercial, once established, pays taxes at their assessed rates that are double what a resident pays, business development is pretty essential.  Especially once you consider that business doesn't use the "services" nearly as heavily as a resident.  (no kids sent to the schools, no garbage pick up, etc.) 

    Something tells me that business/commercial entities fund the city spending well, well beyond the 4% of spending thats earmarked for further business development.  And of that 4% earmark, how much comes directly from business taxpayers as opposed to residents. 

    It would be interesting to see how much, as a percentage and a dollar amount, that the residential taxpayer is really subsidizing economic development as opposed to how much is generated directly from business / commercial taxpayers that gets dropped into and spent from the economic development bucket.

    And then also see how much business then subsidizes the spending made for the benefit of residents which would show why economic development spending should always remain a top priority.

    1. Businesses paying double resident tax is why no business comes

      Your comment basically says that businesses pay so much in taxes that they need these little kick back rebates to make it worth their while to stay in our town.  However, if you look at the list of kick backs, you won't find a list of EVERY business in town- only the city council handpicked winners.  WHat about the rest?!

      I agree with you that businesses don't use all the services like private residents. So why are we taxing them double?  Would you want to open a business in Evanston with these conditions? WHat do neighboring towns tax their businesses by comparison? 

      Wouldn't it make more sense to cut the business tax for all businesses and give no kick backs to anyone?  That would seem like an environment far more open to fair business practice than a highly taxed environment with an occasional bone thrown to those who lap at the feet of the government officials. 




      1. Businesses actually subsidize residential

        That's not what I'm saying at all.  What I'm saying is that the residential taxpayer isn't really funding or subsidizing the economic development monies.  Those monies mostly come directly from taxes paid by business, hotel taxes, etc. etc. etc and then a portion of that gets reinvested back into further business development which ultimately ends up subsidizing residential taxpayers. 

        IMO, the repeated idea that your tax dollars, resident tax dollars, are the main funding source subsidizing  economic development isn't really the case at all,  it is actually completely the other way around, business taxpayers subsidize residential taxpayers.  And because of that investments in business development is crucial if you want to hold down taxes on everybody, residents and business.   

        Those "kickbacks", while I may not agree with all of them, seem like pretty solid investments overall.  While all may not work, the majority certainly do.  Even facade improvments have a positive effect for district business improvment and the overall appearance of our community that benefits everybody.   

        FYI, it's the overall Cook County tax system that charges all commercial property at double the rate of taxes per assessed dollar value.  That is why you see large business campus development and all those jobs located along the corridors of Lake County and that is a Cook County problem, not just Evanston specific.




        1. We should then call it economic redistribution

           I fail to see where anyone checks on the returns on all of these expenditures. Until someone can prove to us taxpayers that there is an overall net profit above and beyond the money taken from successful businesses and/or property taxes, I simply do not believe the $10 million is truly an investment. 

          What I do see if Hecky Powell getting a grant for $11,000 to fix the front of his building, and then a picture in the paper of Hecky Powell shaking hands with city council members while winning some sort of great citizen award. HEcky Powell then goes on to give his endorsements for various candidates. He may be an awesome guy whose helped the city in various ways, but the city shouldn't be giving him a paycheck for it.   This is buying out political support with kick backs.  

            I wonder how Whole FOods, Dominicks, the Pancake House, the Wine Cellar, and Union Pizza feel that their profits are being taxed away to fund new competition?   I also see a city buying property, subdidizing rent, and loaning out money to open up a new theater on Howard Street while simultaneously threatening the one at Noyes Street- which would surely affect all the current businesses on NOyes Street.    (already shutting the doors on the art center on Sheridan/Central).

          Looks like a bit of economic redistribution. Take money from all successful businesses and then give back some rebates to government connected business owners, or businesses in wards where the aldermen snarl the loudest, in the hopes that a few more bottles of booze in town will encorage people to drink more  This is not free-market competition.  This is corrupt cronyism. 

          As for loaning out money, this Heartwood center is a perfect example of why it's a bad idea.  The owners are complaining that it's not fair that so many others get loans, while they don't.  They are right. It isn't fair.  Considering the city has no hard criteria on who gets loans and who doesn't, they appear to do no real investigation into the feasibility of the money-making ability of the ideas, nor do they conduct any other type of due diligence that a solid bank would do.

          So where then do we draw the line?  Does the city fund any idea they personally have a hunch is good?  Is there a spending limit, and if so who gets the money first if suddenly every business entrepreneur comes demanding loans with their supporters at city council meetings?  What happens if the business goes bankrupt- who gets repaid first- the bank with the primary loan, the city taxpayers, or the owner?  

          By providing so many loans, the government has become part owner to the wine bar, Trader Joes, waffle house, and perhaps this Heartwood center. When government starts owning private enterprise, it's called fascism.  





          1. Evanston has a number if Tax

            Evanston has a number if Tax Incremental financing districts ("TIFs").  Personally, I need to understand better how the TIFs work. While Jen complains about Hecky getting $11K for new signage and facade, dont the "established", corporate businesses also benefit from TIFs? I direct your attention to an article in the recent RoundTable by Jeff Smith, former candidate for state rep, good attorney and good guy.

            Economic stimulus is good for the community; I agree with Jen that people should not play favorites in doling it out.

          2. playing favorites

            How do you feel Ben Bernancke's economic stimulus has been working out at the federal level?  We've already had QE1, QE2, Operation Twist, and now it looks like we're heading back to QE3- Job Growth has stagnated at best, and the economy is no better off thanks to all the stimulus. THe newspapers will tell you that there is no inflation, but your grocery bills and gas bills will tell you the truth.    My point is that the government spending (or printing) money does not work to stimulate new growth.    I also am a Jeff Smith fan. However, on this point, I think he is incorrect.

             WIth that being said, if Evanston wants to use tax money to improve sidewalks, streetscapes, public parking lots, roads, etc.  in front of retail spaces- fine.   I think most people are willing to pay taxes that directly go back to improving public spaces around town or to provide services for the residents that live here.    But giving out individual business grants for facade improvement?  Straight out buying storefronts?    Giving money for businesses to market? Perhaps I went too far in claiming corruption with HEcky Powell, but from an outsider perspective this is what it looks like to me.  

            Ponzi above is right- taking money from businesses in taxes and then giving a little back assumes business owners do not know how to spend their own money.

              If the goal is really economic development, as in more money in tax revenues, do we not share the same goal  with all business owners and banks giving out profitable loans?  .  I trust that the business owners and banks know more about how to make money than our city council. Let them keep more of their profits, but then don't give back any rebates.      




          3. I wonder…

            I wonder if the City Council would support a Chick-fil-A restaurant opening in Evanston?


          4. Let’s hope so

            They certainly have better tasting food than hecky powell's place and would generate a lot in taxes. Maybe enough to make up for the council's handouts.

    2. Wally’s Economic development is hurting ALL Taxpayers

      About six months ago Wally stated we have to "spread the love" for economic development what he really was stating is lets spread out the money.

      The city was going to give Felony Franks money to come here, that was quite clear, but Wally could not get his council member friends to buy into it.Even though there are hundred of felonys living in Evanston.

      Taxing businesses to give money back to them is a waste, it assumes the business don't know how to spent their own money.

      Lowering the tax rate for everyone businesses and residents make sense, Wally is not doing that he basically misinformed taxpayers during the last budget hearing about the effective tax rate which was 8%.  

      How much longer will business and taxpayers put up with these lies?

      The Hotel tax which Wally is using for his pet project funds should be used to improve the surrounding streets and landscape on public property in areas of town here there are hotels. Not as a slush fund for Wally.  When the work is done the tax should be lower, not raised.

      It is clear many of these projects are give aways of taxpayer money, while it may not be clear they are corrupt, there appears to be continued questionable practices here, that raise very troubling questions, as to the role of public officials, economic development and misuse of funds.

  6. Funding improvements to owner-operated store-fronts

    I am absolutely shocked and find it hard to believe that Evanston taxpayers are paying for the fixing of the buildings where there are businesses!!! Please tell me, does the City of Evanston own these buildings?  If the City of Evanston does not own these buildings, why are the taxpayers pay for their improvement??  Isn't that a cost of doing business?  And if the buildings are in disrepair and falling short of city codes, why are not these business fined for not fixing their buildings?  Good grief!!  It's no wonder our real estate taxes are so high.

    Yes.  We would like to have more business in Evanston to ease the tax burden – not make it worse!!

    1. Where does the city stand as creditor? Investor ?

      Since the Council is placing so much money at risk in these projects that they have picked as 'winners', where does the city [taxpayer] stand in getting payback ?   When the Council give money to store owners to paint, replace awnings, etc., are the owners required to payback the taxpayer from their extra profits ?  I doubt it since the Council seems to making a 'gift' [a lot of other businesses and homeowners would like in on that scam !].

      If the Wine & Cheese, Trader Joes, Waffles and Chicken go bust, is the city [taxpayers] FIRST inline for UNCONDITIONAL repayment and protected in bankruptcy ? Since the Council feels these are money making businesses, why not require a market rate return on investment or does the city know they will not make a profit and feel they need to make the gift to get them in Evanston ?  No way to run a business or city !  Do Council members run their private business that way ? private investments in companies they like the 'story' but don't expect profits and a market return ?  Pretty dumb way to run a business or city.

      Note story on the news about pizza and other places that are facing greatly increased cheese prices and say they will have to increase prices, cut the amount of cheese or eat the loss [you can't do that for long].

  7. mixed income housing as economic development?

    "Overall the (Emerson Square) project is expected to involve $3.1 million in city funds, including $2.1 million from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant, $600,000 from the West Evanston TIF, $300,000 from the federal HOME program grant and $100,000 from the city's Affordable Housing Fund."

    $2.4 million of these "city" funds are federal monies for affordable housing and another $600,000 is from the tax increment from the West Evanston TIF.

    The Emerson Square project can be called community development but it does not fit within the common definition of "economic development".

    1. Definitions


      Your unsourced definition of economic development is too limited. To enlighten yourself about the breadth of the term, you could start with the Wikipedia article on "economic development."

      To your other point, once the grantor gives the money to the city, it's the city's money and the city spends it. To argue otherwise and be consistent you would have to also contend that the hotel tax money isn't the city's money because it came from the hotels. 

      The article was about total spending by the city on economic development efforts, Where relevant it also indicated the source of funds.

      — Bill

      1. Enlightened by Wikipedia

        Then you must consider the rest of the $18,000,000 of nsp2 funds as "economic development". OK.

        This is the first time I've seen a journalist cite Wikipedia. What is the source within that source?

  8. Setting the stage for failure

    The disgusting liberal agenda in Evanston continues.  Apparently city officials are blind to the Obama Administration's epic economic failure pursuing similar tactics on a national scale!

  9. What about the Neighborhood Storefront Improvement Program?

    I wonder if the Facade  Improvement Program is the same or an extension of the Neighborhood Storefront Improvement Program.

    I recall  the Economic Development Committee two years ago under the Neighborhood Storefront Improvement Program approved $17,500 for roof renovations and brickwork at the set of storefronts at 1459-1463 Elmwood Ave. that was and still is up for sale.

    It bothered me then and still does that the city gave this money to the owner who is trying to sell the property.

    I'm still digesting the information from this excellent and informative report. I do know one thing is certain – it's easy to take and spend other people's money.

    This year's property tax bills are due in August 1 – the earliest in recent memory. Reading this report after paying consistently rising property taxes doesn't settle well with me.

    Say, I could use a freshened facade for the front of my home.

    Is there a Neighborhood Residential Improvement grant program? Afterall, if I get more money when I sell my house there will be more money in transfer taxes for the city. It's a win win.


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