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Attendees at Downtown Evanston’s annual meeting Thursday afternoon got to indicate their preferences for redesigning the city’s Fountain Square downtown gathering place.

The city is seeking input for how to reconfigure the wedge-shaped park where Sherman and Orrington Avenues meet at Davis Street.

Several potential design concepts for the square have been developed over the past couple of years and the latest proposals are scheduled for another public airing at a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, at the Evanston Public Library.

Fountain Square, which began as a traffic island in the middle of the intersection, has had several different configurations over the city’s more than 150 year history. The current design was was completed in 1976, to coincide with the nation’s bicentennial.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says the new redesign is expected to cost roughly $5 million to implement and the city plans to fund it from the balance remaining in a tax increment financing district fund.

That fund is scheduled to close at the end of 2018, which gives the city a deadline to settle on a design by this fall so that construction work can start next spring and be completed before the fund closes.

In other business Thursday, the Downtown Evanston board voted to expand its size — creating more slots for persons who own or lease commercial property downtown. Long-time board member Dan Kelch said the expansion was designed to bring more diversity to the board.

Downtown Evanston, which provides management services and marketing for the downtown area, is largely funded through a special tax imposed on downtown commercial properties.

Its board includes 10 representatives from the largest property tax payers in the district, two city officials, three residential property owners and one from the chamber of commerce.

The change increases the number of representatives from smaller commercial property owners and lessees from a range of two to seven to a range of four to nine.

Six new board members were also elected at the meeting. They are Chris Hawxhurst, property manager for the 500 Davis building; Beth LeBeau, property manager for the Park Evanston at 1630 Chicago Ave.; Laura Moreno, property manager for NAI Hiffman which manages 909 Davis; Michael Broadfoot, of Inventrust Properties which manages Sherman Plaza; Paul Kogol, a senior vice president at First Bank and Trust, and Marilyn Ruiz, president of the Optima Towers condo association.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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