Evanston’s City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on spending nearly half of its remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds on a business district improvement program called “Evanston Thrives.”

The proposal was developed through a nine-month process starting last July, led by a city-hired consulting firm. The report was unveiled at an Economic Development Committee meeting in March.

But the project will have to compete for funding with 10 other proposals vying for a slice of the nearly $6.24 million in remaining ARPA money.

Three of those other projects don’t even have price tags attached yet, but the seven that do have prices attached, plus Evanston Thrives, would blow through the funding ceiling by about $4 million.

A staff report designates just three of the proposals as meeting established City Council priorities.

Projects and ProgramsEstimated budgetCouncil prioritiesSet for Council action on
Evanston Thrives business district improvements$3M$3M5/8/23
City funding for 1815 Church affordable housing$1.5M$1.5M
Addressing health inequities in lower-income neighborhoods$1.5M$1.5M
Additional capital funding for mental health “Living Room”$350K
Additional funding for social and mental health services$200K
Funding additional new affordable housing unitsTBD
Whole & Free Foods Manufacturing Facility$550K5/8/23
Rebuilding exchange workforce training facilityTBD
Small business assistance program$2M
Youth violence reduction programTBD
ASPIRE workforce development$200K5/8/23
Total requests$10.3M +$6M
Unallocated ARPA funds plus interest$6.24M$6.24M
(Over) / under available funds($4.06M)$24K
Proposals competing for what’s left of the city’s ARPA funding.

Two much smaller projects seeking ARPA funds are also up for City Council votes Monday.

One is a request from Whole & Free Foods for $550,000 to help cover the cost of leasehold improvements for the planned Every Body Eats manufacturing facility at 626 Hartrey Ave.

626 Hartrey Ave.

The company makes allergy-free snack foods that are sold in Whole Foods Markets and other retailers nationally.

The total project cost is estimated at $7 million.

The other project up for a vote is continued funding for the ASPIRE-Evanston Community Healthcare Workforce Development Program.

If Council approves that request for $200,000 in city funding, NorthShore University HealthSystem and the Finnegan Foundation will each match the city support with a $200,000 contribution, for a total of $600,000.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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