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A mountain of salt may be coming to James Park in south Evanston. salt-dome-design-090427.jpg An example, from a city memo, of a rectangular salt storage facility. The City Council’s Administration and Public Works Committee this week heard a report from city staffers who say the city’s two-decade-old salt storage facility needs to be replaced. The current salt dome is in poor repair, they say, and holds only 2,500 tons — not enough to protect the city against sudden spikes in salt prices during times of shortage — like those that have occurred in recent winters. Suzette Eggleston, the streets and sanitation superintendent, said the city needs to be able to store 4,000 tons of salt, or about 80 percent of the 5,000 tons it uses during a typical winter. Eggleston says the current salt dome site, at the municipal services center near the Civic Center, is too small for the larger storage capacity needed. The city has been debating what to do about repairing or replacing the salt dome for over a decade. While the current city salt storage facility has the geodesic dome shape frequently used for such structures, Eggleston says a rectangular building would require about 10 percent less total space. The new building is estimated to cost about $500,000. Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the park, urged that a public meeting be held to discuss the proposal and said she anticipates that people who use the community gardens in the park will be concerned about possible damage to the gardens from salt leaking from the storage facility. Eggleston said the staff has also looked into locating the dome on two privately owned sites near the park — the Oakton Shoppes development and the North Shore Towing lot. But both of those alternatives would involve additional cost for land acquisition or property leasing. She says a goal in finding any new site is to keep it as far away from homes as possible to minimize the impact of noise from the operation on local residents. But at the same time, she says, the facility also needs easy access to major roads to be able to operate efficiently during a snow emergency.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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6 Comments

  1. Save the Civic Center?
    “Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the park, urged that a public meeting be held to discuss the proposal and said she anticipates that people who use the community gardens in the park will be concerned about possible damage to the gardens from salt leaking from the storage facility.”

    Rainey probably doesn’t want this salt dome in her ward. Usually I would call that NIMBYism, but since Ann Rainey has been principled and courageous on development issues, and the 8th already has a lot of stuff that other wards don’t want, I am not going to blame her.

    Instead, we should focus on the ‘Friends of the Civic Center’. It seems to me that if we want to keep the “Historic” Civic Center on Ridge, we should keep all of the undesirable municipal services and facilities there too. Shouldn’t we keep the Historic Salt Dome in a location near the Historic Civic Center?

    “The city has been debating what to do about repairing or replacing the salt dome for over a decade.

    While the current city salt storage facility has the geodesic dome shape frequently used for such structures, Eggleston says a rectangular building would require about 10 percent less total space.”

    What about our history and culture? We can’t sacrifice this charming salt dome. Anyway, I am sure that NPV analysis (perhaps performed by Messieurs Kennedy and Brugliera) would demonstrate that repairing the current salt dome is less expensive than building a new one.

    If a new salt storage facility must be built, why can’t it be on the grounds of the current Historic Civic Center? Or maybe that empty Kendall lot. I see a nice empty lot at Eastwood and Central that looks like a nice place for a salt storage facility, too.

  2. $AVE THE DOME
    This is great! I am going out today to print the yard signs! “Ann Rainey-Worth her $alt-Save the dome” or maybe “James Park- Under a-Salt..Save the Dome”. How about a picture of the popular Morton Salt Girl trampling over the public gardens of James Park -When it rains, it pours!

    1. Yes, $ave the dome
      Anonymous wrote:
      “This is great! I am going out today to print the yard signs! “

      Oh silly me! I completely forgot about the lawn signs. Thanks for reminding me. This grassroots campaign to save the Historic Salt Dome must have lawn signs!

  3. Once again, 8th ward as target
    Agreed that the 8th Ward is already doing more than its share to contribute to the goals and whims of City government.

    If the salt dome is placed in James Park, heavy winter truck traffic will follow, there will be a loss of considerable park space (look at the size of the example from the city memo!), and salt may affect neighboring gardens. The placement of the salt dome in James Park is more than the 8th Ward should bear.

    The City of Evanston needs to equalize the burden of living in an urban area among the wards. Keep the salt dome where it is and save the half million on construction. When the economy improves, consider a replacement somewhere on the north side. There are parks on the north side, too, right?

  4. Recycling Center?
    The city just can’t stop eyeing James Park for more buildings. This park is a wonderful green space for our children, and residents. Adding another building to it is just bad business for a city that wants to call itself green. Perhaps the city should consider using the already existing recycling center building to house salt. A few modifications to it would probably do the trick. Last I heard, they were considering closing the recycling center because it was costing us money. Why not close it, save the money it is costing us and save the additional expense of erecting a new building. Can someone in this city consider re-using existing space rather than building something new for every issue we face? I am beginning to think someone has a relative that can do a study through their company and another someone has a relative that can build….. you get the idea.

  5. Another unnecessary expenditure

    Heres another example of an unnecessary expenditure.  Sure it would be nice to have a capacity that would last all winter and assuming the worst winter imaginable. but that's not the way planning should be done especially when the city is trying to find cuts in its budget.  Tell the staff to think up another solution and if they cant then maybe there is no real problem here and they should just go home and stop finding ways to spend money.

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