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Fear and loathing on the lakefront?

The Southeast Evanston Association has issued an e-mail call to its members to turn out for Monday’s special City Council meeting about goals for lakefront development.

Some aldermen recently have suggested that the city should consider additional recreational development along the lakefront that might generate more revenue for the city in tight financial times.

The Southeast Evanston Association has issued an e-mail call to its members to turn out for Monday’s special City Council meeting about goals for lakefront development.

Some aldermen recently have suggested that the city should consider additional recreational development along the lakefront that might generate more revenue for the city in tight financial times.

Others have objected to the current ban on parking along the lake after 9 p.m. — two hours before lakefront and other city parks close — saying it makes the lake inaccessible in the evening to people who don’t live close enough to walk to it.

The Southeast Evanston Association message claims the evening parking ban was enacted several years ago after "lakefront parks south of Church Street became gathering places for out-of-town groups and drug dealing, and unsafe for Evanstonians at night."

The SEA has generally opposed any increase in lakefront park usage, saying it should remain "a peaceful escape for all of us from the busy-ness, buildings, lights and noise that dominate modern life."

The City Council last week approved moving ahead with plans for rebuilding the lakefront bike path, despite objections from some aldermen about the cost of the project, and in September aldermen approved plans for a new traffic signal at Church Street and Sheridan Road despite objections from some residents living on the lakefront side of Sheridan that it would aggravate traffic congestion.

The council Monday is also scheduled to discuss two other goals it identified recently — the city’s climate action plan and improvements to the Robert Crown Center — home to the city’s ice rink.

Some aldermen have questionned why the city should make more capital improvements on the lakefront now when the Crown Center project, located away from the lake at Main Street and Dodge Avenue, has languished for years.

But a memo from Parks Director Doug Gaynor, included in the packet for Monday’s meeting, says the city has spent less than $2 million on capital improvements along the lakefront over the past 20 years.

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