Evanston aldermen this week approved proposals from five local businesses for matching grants from the city’s facade improvement program to improve the look of their buildings.

Here’s a rundown on the projects:

Egea Spa at 1521 Sherman Ave. will get up to $5,200 for new new awnings on its building.


Evanston aldermen this week approved proposals from five local businesses for matching grants from the city’s facade improvement program to improve the look of their buildings. Here’s a rundown on the projects:

The Evanston Festival Theatre in the Main Street Metra Station will get up to $2,250 to install new lights on the station to illuminate the train platform.

Varsity LLC will receive $9,500 to help fund repairs to the ornamental tile on the roof of the former theater building at 1706-10 Sherman Ave.

Renaissance Realty and Construction will get up to $16,500 to install awnings on the Strange Lofts building at the corner of Church Street and Darrow Avenue.

And Stratosphere Networks will receive up to $8,000 for facade improvements to the building it has recently purchased at 1732 Central St.

All the grants are provided on a 50-50 matching basis, with the business owners paying the other half of the cost.

Depending on the project the funds will come either from the Business District Improvement Fund or the tax increment financing district in which the property is located.

Above: A rendering of what the Egea building will look like after the awnings are added.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Government payments to brick & mortor vrs. internet tax

    Physical stores complain about he internet firms not collecting/paying taxes.  Evanston is a good example of how physical stores get gifts that never go to the internet firms.   Evanston won't develop [or keep after start-up] if the inequality continues.

  2. Five businesses get facade funds

    Does this seem strange to anyone else but me? The city cries poor on a daily basis, raises taxes and fees, can't pay the money owed to the police and fire pensions … Yet they have money to GIVE to private businesses??? I would like a deck on my house – which will be a great improvement to the "facade". Who do I see to get the city to pay half???

  3. Businesses get facade funds

    What a gigantic waste of taxpayer monies… What about millions of dollars of city debt don't our leaders get?

  4. money for facades but none for trash on public property?

    Folks, public space in Evanston is one big garbage dump. In the heart of downtown you can find all kinds of litter on the sidewalks, in the street, everywhere. Alleys? Pigs would feel right at home in many of them.

    Today I took some pictures in the heart of downtown that you can see here, here and here. These were taken across the street from LePeep. Yes, two show CTA property but though their right-of-way is a particular mess, trash is everywhere. I know, I pick it up daily wherever I walk in town and I've been doing it year after year. North Evanston, south Evanston, central Evanston. I'm ashamed of the dump I live in. Any given 100 square feet in town will fill your hands with trash if you give it a try. Within 10 feet of the city parking meter I used on Benson Street today I had a handful of trash.

    So our city is spending thousands to make businesses look better while beneath our feet not a finger is lifted on public property, the land the city government is charged with maintaining! How many hours of work by unskilled labor could be purchased for $1000? I won't even start on the lack of recycling receptacles around town. It's inexcusable.

    The appearance of a business is part of the cost or running a business. What is going on alderpeople? Please spend money on city property to make it presentable before you hand it out to make private businesses look good! Everyone – look around you on the streets and sidewalks. Are we blind?

  5. This is ridiculous

    who pushed this through?!  Egea Spa does not need new awnings and if it did it should pay for it by itself.  It is a private business!  And it looks perfectly fine the way it is.  It is not an eyesore.

    Why isn't this money going somewhere else? This is a SPA, for chrissakes – a place where wealthy people go to have their face scrubbed by immigrants.  Why isn't this money going to school or public spaces?  this is another example of public money going directly into the pockets of private citizens.

    Who is in charge here?

    1. Agree…

      While I agree it makes no sense to fund this private business – i find it funny how only those nasty and evil "wealthy" people visit establishments like this.  I'm sure that they have a sign up noting an income bracket requirement too. It's perfectly fine for unions to be run by the mob and rape and pillage tax payers but this is awning has really done us in!

    2. I get that you’re angry…

      I get that you're angry about the fiscal irresponsibility being demonstrated by the Evanston alderman, but denigrating the people who work at the spa (why is their country of birth even an issue here? does it make them somehow less deserving?) and the people who go to the spa (not everybody who uses spa services is wealthy; everybody has different priorities) does not add to the conversation.

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