Organizers of the Evanston150 campaign have toted up the results and say Evanstonians topped their goal of coming up with 2,013 ideas for what to do for the community’s 150th anniversary in 2013.

The total number of ideas submitted came in at 2,201.

And more than half of them came in in the final two weeks of the campaign, which ended July 31.

The organizers are now at work categorizing and summarizing the ideas for publishing on the Evanston150 website.

Over the next two months, the newly appointed Selection Jury will work at sifting through these ideas to narrow them down to 100 for the public voting events Oct. 15 and 16.

The campaign is designed to come up with 10 outstanding ideas to make Evanston a better place to live, work and play that can be implemented, or at least launched, in time for the anniversary celebration.

A committee comprised of two Evanston150 Steering Committee members and three community volunteers reviewed the 51 jury applications submitted by community members.

Evanston150 interns numbered all applications and removed the cover pages before turning them over to the Review Committee. The applicants answered essay questions about community service and volunteer experience and provided demographic data on age, race, household income, geographic area of Evanston and occupation.

“This was a blind process in which we looked at experiences, not names,” explained Evanston150 Steering Committee Member Patrick Keenan-Devlin. “The Review Committee chose 21 jury candidates,” Keenan-Devlin stated. “It was not difficult to find good candidates. We ended up with a committee that draws upon many parts of the community, without having to force it.” 

Seven of the Selection Jury members are men and 14 are women. Sixteen are white and five are black There were no Asian or Latino applicants.

Seven jury members are under age 40 (which includes one high school and one college student), and 14 are over age 40. The jury members, who were notified of their appointment on July 26, will attend an August retreat hosted by the Steering Committee to prepare them for their collective responsibility.

The entire community is invited to turn out for one of several public voting events being planned for the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16. The public vote will narrow down the 100 ideas to 30.

On Nov. 10, the Steering Committee will announce the final 10 ideas promising broad support and long lasting impact to the community at a festive event to conclude this phase of Evanston150.

Following the Nov. 10 announcement, community members, local institutions and organizations are invited to start collaborating, adopting projects, and implementing the ideas.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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