Aldermen Monday told city staff to move forward with talks with Evanston Township High School about collaborating on a new school fieldhouse that could be shared with the city.

The aldermen on the Human Services Committee also asked the staff to put together before the end of the year a proposal for rebuilding the city’s Robert Crown Recreation Center.

The actions came in response to a report from the Playground and Recreation Board which decried lack of action by the city to rebuild the Crown Center, despite a report the board prepared five years ago calling for expansion or replacement of the building.

Rec board chair Mark Metz said his understanding is that the school plans to go ahead with a new fieldhouse, with or without the city, so that it’s crucial to act now on the opportunity to collaborate on the project.

“I think it’s an exciting idea to do something with the high school if at all possible,” Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, said it would be important to have the report before the aldermen begin their full review of the city budget starting in January.

Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, said he believes that an expanded Crown center, with top quality ice rink facilities, “could come close to paying for itself.”

Alderman Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, said the city has wanted to do something about the center for years.

The building, now just 30 years old, has had roof problems for at least 15 years, Bernstein said. “The council has wanted to do this, but at the end of the day we’ve always had more needs than we have the dollars to fix.”

Parks Director Doug Gaynor said he believed the report could be ready within 60 days.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.