Plans to hold a “Halloween Hustle” 6K run on the Evanston lakefront the Sunday before Halloween drew complaints from lakefront aldermen this week.
Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, complained that adding the run would break through the 12-event cap the city has placed on lakefront events for the past decade or more.
And Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, objected that having an event organized by a for-profit company like Jet Event Productions, LLC that’s planning the Halloween event “would be an entirely new direction for events on the lakefront” — apparently unaware that Jet also organized a lakefront Thanksgiving Turkey Trot last year.
Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said the Human Service Committee several months ago had discussed expanding the number of events on the lakefront.
Holmes and several other aldermen who represent wards away from the lake have tended to favor expanded use of the lakefront for events open to the public, while the aldermen whose constituents live along the lake have tended to heed complaints from neighbors about noise and traffic congestion caused by the events.
Eliot Wineberg, an Evanston resident and owner of Jet, said that for-profit companies typically organize running events but design them to raise funds for charity.
He said that last year’s turkey trot in Evanston cost $60,000 to produce and only generated $50,000 in revenue, but that he’s hoping the event will become profitable as more runners learn about it.
Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said that while she “wasn’t advocating for any particular number” of lakefront events, she believed that in the interest of transparency people who live on the lakefront should be invited to comment before the City Council changes the lakefront event policy.
City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz apologized there’d been some mis-communication by staff about the number of events proposed for this year
The current schedule is heavily loaded toward the summer months — with nine events in July, July or August, two in September and one in November.
Grover said additional events “are just what we’ve been talking about in our economic development and community wellness efforts” and noted that no other events now are proposed for October.
She said she likes the idea of holding running events on the lakefront because it avoids the need to close city streets.
The aldermen voted to approve the other 12 events on the proposed lakefront schedule and have a further discussion about the Halloween event at the April 16 council meeting.
Top: Running events on Halloween have proved popular around the country. Here the logo for an event sponsored by the Black Hills Runners Club in South Dakota.
Would you favor more public events on Evanston’s lakefront?