Former 9th Ward Alderman Gene Feldman, who served 18 years on the Evanston City Council, retiring in 2005, died early this morning.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie.

At Feldman’s last City Council meeting, Alderman Art Newman, 1st Ward, said that Feldman, as chair of the Economic Development Committee starting in 1997, had been instrumental in transforming Maple Avenue near Church Street from “a giant parking lot” to “the focal point of downtown and an incredible success for the City.”

Newman earlier had said that Feldman achieved that and other economic development successes because he had “the ability to get along with everybody in the room” and the ability “to formulate ideas and vision.”

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said as Feldman was leaving the council that she appreciated his “eloquence, sageness and sense of humor” and his “gift to diffuse tensions.”

Feldman also drew notice in 1991 for supporting a proposal to ban cigarette machines in Evanston, shortly after a similar ordinance was adopted in Chicago.

Feldman was 82 years old.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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