Here’s a recap of our live coverage of Monday evening’s meeting of the Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

A packet with information on the agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 5:10 p.m.

All committee members — Kelly, Harris, Nieuwsma Burns, Reid — present. Kelly chairs

No minutes from last meeting to approve — staff shortage and long meeting last time, says Deputy City Manager Dave Stoneback

Public Comment

Charles Smith, of Jens Jenson Gardens in Evanston, speaks in favor of lease for the gardens with the city. Says the volunteers need to know they’re getting a return on their investment of time and effort.

Several other speakers favor the gardens proposal.

Several speakers object to Northwestern University’s Ryan Field plans.

Consent agenda

Removed from consent: A1, A5, A7 thru 9, A11.

Consent agenda approved.

A1 – Payroll and Bills

Nieuwsma recuses himself.

Approve 4-0-1

A5 – Storage facility rehab phase 1 construction contract

Lara Biggs, city engineer, says $163K is for the temporary animal shelter cost.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says using the existing facility for storage will save the city several million dollars.

Biggs says new building would have cost about $10 million. Says do have to invest in renovating the existing building at a cost of about $2.2 million.

Reid says city made several efforts to sell the recycling center for commercial development — but none of those deals worked out.

Biggs says about 30% of the facility will be used for the animals temporarily.

Approved 5-0.

A7 – Demo service for Emerson/Jackson site

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says would rather deconstruct the property.

Paul Zalmezak, community development director, says because of prevailing wage law regulations for city work deconstruction would cost 3.5 times as much as demolition.

Nieuwsma asks whether there’s any way around that — workforce development training?

Alex Ruggie, deputy city attorney, says the prevailing wage rule is state law — no way around it.

Nieuwsma suggests if sold the property to a developer then could have the developer do the deconstruction.

Zalmezak says that would seriously delay the removal of the buildings through the procurement process and sale — add 12 to 18 months to having the vacant buildings continue to sit there.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) says this is a unique case — in most other situations there wouldn’t be the urgency to demo right away — but this property has already been sitting vacant for far too long.

Says rebuilding warehouse group has offered to donate their services to deconstruct the barn — which is likely the most valuable property from a recycling standpoint.

Reid says need to ask the state legislature to revise the prevailing wage law.

Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings says would need to talk to the contractor about amending the contractor before taking the barn out of the deal.

Based on that, the committee votes 3-2 to table the contract until Feb. 13 meeting. Burns and Reid vote no.

A8 – Ryan Field economic impact study contract

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) says the intent is not meant to validate the university’s claims. It’s to do the city’s own independent analysis of what the economic impact will be from the stadium rebuild itself and the concerts.

Says need to look at temporary and permanent construction jobs, plus permit fees to the city.

Also looking at home football games — claims of enhanced fan experience that is anticipated to draw more ticket revenue.

And look at impact of the concerts, separate from football — what extra tax revenue and economic impact for each business district. Also job impact, and impact for immediate neighbors.

Says want to make sure consultant understands the neighborhood — unlike setting for other stadiums.

Says she believes to consultant — Hunden Strategic Partnrs — has the expertise. But want to table the contract to revise the proposed scope of work.

Reid moves to table to Feb. 13 meeting.

Kelly suggests looking at Civic Economics as a possible consultant, asks why didn’t do an RFP? Would other vendors have also required an MWEBE waiver?

Zalmezak says identified three firms that are relatively local and have the right expertise. Henden rose to the top because they have had both city and teams as clients. Says none of the prospective vendors could meet MWEBE goals.

Motion to table is approved 5-0.

A9 – Jens Jensen Gardens group lease

Reid moves to have staff negotiate a final lease and bring that back to committee at Feb. 13 meeting

Says has a number of questions — including why the lease is 40 years?

Charles Smith says it’s needed given the long time it takes to develop a landscape.

Nieuwsma says it’s not prudent to take this action tonight. Says should take a minute, take a breath and consider all options before moving forward. Says no negative feelings about the Jens Jensen group — but Council has to be responsible for the house as well — and that’s the more financially impactful portion of the property.

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) says she wants Council to be prudent with leases — but thinks the grounds lease should eventually be done with the Jens Jensen group.

Ruggie says sale or lease of property needs to be done by ordinance. Technically the lease with Artists Book House has not been terminated, she says. Concerned about entering into a new lease when haven’t terminated the previous one.

Revelle says Artists Book House is preparing a formal letter to terminate the lease. Have a lot of books and some furniture left in the house are in the process of moving it out. Would like to get the house fully cleaned out before sending the termination letter in.

Harris, need to have the city come up with a date so it doesn’t drag on.

Ruggie says survey of property won’t be ready by the Feb. 13 meeting so staff will need more time to draft the lease. Likely the Feb. 27 meeting instead.

Nieuwsma says wants to have discussion of the issue at Council tonight.

Dave Stoneback, deputy city manager, says would prefer to have a specific motion in writing.

Reid says wants to instruct city manager to negotiate a lease for the grounds and coach house with the Jens Jensen group and termination of the Artists Book House lease and bring back at the Feb. 27 meeting.

The committee takes a break at 6:50 p.m. to reduce the proposed motion to writing.

(The A&PW meeting was scheduled to have ended in time for the Planning and Development Committee meeting to start at 6 p.m.)

Meeting resumes at 7:01 p.m.

Reid moves to have staff prepare final lease for grounds and coach house by Feb. 27 with Jens Jensen Gardens group.

Approved 4-1. Nieuwsma votes no.

A11 – Water treatment plant window hardening change order

Harris asks for explanation of the change order

Darrell King, water production bureau chief, says its needed for the full scope of work. (Change order is for $7.5K on a $17.5K contract.) Says winning bidder is still the least expensive vendor for the project.

Approved 5-0

A12 – A16

Moved as a bundle by Reid, seconded by Nieuwsma.

This is parking lease agreement for the Trammell Crow office building plus the police contracts.

Approved 5-0.

Discussion items

Both tabled until Feb. 13 meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 7:10 p.m.

Planning and Development to begin shortly.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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