The Evanston City Council tonight is scheduled to act on plans to spend $255,000 to renovate Firemen’s Park at Simpson Street and Maple Avenue.

City officials say that many of the existing improvements to the park are “in a deteriorated or deficient state.”

The project will include new playground equipment and surfacing, new pavement, fencing and furnishing, new security lighting, a new drinking fountain and new landscaping.

In 2010 a project by neighborhood residents and volunteers from the fire department led to restoration of a firefighter’s monument and of an antique fire engine in the park.

Northwestern University has pledged to contribute up to $20,000 toward the project to cover half the cost of new security lighting.

The contract is scheduled to be awarded to low bidder Elanar Construction Company of Glenview.

Update 6/26/13 10:30 a.m.: The contract was approved on the City Council’s consent agenda Monday night.

Top: Youngsters play on the antique fire engine during Firemen’s Park rededication ceremonies in 2010.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. But we don’t have any money!

    I just don't understand how such a proposal could even be brought up."We don't have any money." I know the park needs to be renovated, but $250,000!

  2. Seriously?!

    Seriously, $255k?! I walk by that park and it looks fine.  Meanwhile, I've walked by plenty of parks with nice basketball courts with no backboard, rim or nets (ie Kamen Park), so that they are useless.  How about spreading a few bucks around fixing several parks before spending $255k to upgrade Firemen's Park?

    1. Agreed on the $255K

      I live a block from the park and agree that the playground equipment is in sad shape and needs replacing.  And the work done to restore the monument resulted in the elimination of the drinking fountain, which is a problem.  But a quarter of a million dollars?  Can't imagine what justifies that kind of expense.   The wood fences are just fine– perfectly functional.  Why replace them?  Landscaping?  Seems perfectly fine to me.  Security lighting is a good idea, and it is great that Northwestern is footing part (or all) of the bill.  I just hope it's tastefully done and doesn't make the park look like a parking lot at night.  Let's fix it up, but how about a bit of austerity?

  3. Spend our tax dollars wisely

    I drove by Firemen's Park last night, and while I agree it can use a little "sprucing up" do we really need to spend $255,000?

    As the writer regarding the assault rifle ban stated, "These people (City Council) are supposed to be the stewards of the city, and they are pointlessly wasting city money. It’s shameful."

    And people wonder why there is cynicism and skepticism regarding local, state and federal politicians.

    When citizens see politicians wastefully spending money and making dumb decisions, we get upset and this raises further questions.

    The City of Evanston has limited resources, and I'm all for improving our parks, but can't we improve this park by spending $100,000 and use the other $155,000 for another park/s or to help more underpriviliged kids learn how to read?

    We elect our City leaders to make responsible decisions.


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