Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 6:50 p.m.

Second to last meeting of the 80th City Council. Next meeting, May 10, the 80th Council will meet briefly and then the 81st Council will be sworn in and hold its first meeting.

Pastor Zollie Webb, of Friendship Baptist Church and Evanston Own It, reports on program’s activities in the past year.

Mayor issues Arbor Day and Public Service Week proclamations.

Announces high rate of vaccinations for COVID here in Evanston.

Says problem seen elsewhere of people not showing up for their 2nd shots hasn’t been a problem here.

City Engineer Lara Biggs announces that the city has won awards from the American Public Works Association at the local level for the Main Street improvement project … and a national award for the Robert Crown Community Center. Says that’s a really big deal — city has never won at the national level before, she says.

Public Comment

Mayor says 24 people signed up. So they get 1:52 each. Time at start is 7:18 p.m.

At least half of those people weren’t present, but public comment continued until 7:51 p.m.

Special orders of business

SP1 – Lease of Harley Clarke mansion to Artists book House
Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, says would like to see no city money spent on maintenance.
Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says perhaps the Friends of Harley Clarke could provide funds for that.
Ordinance is approved for introduction 9-0.

Consent agenda

Off consent A2. A4. A5, A6, P8, R1, APP1 (And P5 is off because it failed in committee. And A21 was held in committee.)

Consent agenda approved 9-0.

A2 – Amazon credit card activity
Approved 8-0-1. Suffredin abstains.

A4 – Special events schedule
Approved 9-0.

A5 – NU use of Crown Center
Payment from NU of $1M for usage of up to five years.
City Manager Erika Storlie says the university has paid a third of the amount (back in 2017 or 2018).
Expected to pay the remainder this year and next.
Suffredin complains that a previous letter from Friends of Robert Crown to NU described the money received then as a donation.
Storlie says the average use the school has made of the center is about $75K a year in recent years.
Says its likely to be more in the future than it has been in the past — but some of the money may end up being a donation.
Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says facility has to generate revenue and fact somebody is offering to prepay for a huge chunk of it — take the money, book the time, there’s plenty of other ice time for the other groups. Nothing’s hidden from anybody.
Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, says agreement is in the city’s favor, should approve it.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says NU’s ice time is super early in the morning or very late at night. And now the city has an extra sheet of ice. There’s income to be generated. Ready to move forward with it.
Storlie arguably the initial one third of the money is not likely to be redeemed for ice time, it could be looked at as a contribution.

Suffredin moves and Fleming seconds a motion to hold the issue to the next City Council meeting

Alderman Rainey moves and Wynne seconds a motion to overrule the hold, which carries on a 7-2 vote.

Final vote to approve the partnership agreement is 7-2.

A6 – Purchase of a portable LED screen
… for movies in the park and similar uses.
Approved 8-1. Suffredin votes no.

P8 – Redevelopment of former E-Z Spuds site
… at 2223 Washington St.
Related story.
Approved 8-0-1. Rue Simmons recuses herself.

P4 – Simplifying special use process.
Due to an oversight, this was approved on the consent agenda. At this point the council revotes on it to include an amendment that was made in committee — to conduct a review of the changes after two years.
Approved 9-0.

R1 – Code of ethics changes
Fleming says suggests looking at Skokie model.
Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings says Skokie’s board of ethics somewhat models the existing Evanston board — except that there are some stipulations about who can serve — limited to attorneys or ministers. Wilmette’s ethics officer is their corporation counsel. Says staff has added a flow chart to the memo. Says the model the ordinance proposes makes things cleaner for the city.
Approved 8-1 for introduction. Suffredin votes no.

AP1 – Appointments
Approved 7-1-1. Fleming votes no. Rue Simmons recuses herself because she’s up for appointment to the Reparations Commission.

A27 – Resident-only parking districts (Sheridan Square)
Adopted on a 9-0 vote.

Call of the Wards

Rue Simmons — final ward meeting on May 5 on Zoom at 7 p.m.

Rainey — Chicago/Howard project groundbreaking expected in next few days

Fleming — asks Rules Committee to consider creating a budget committee.

Braithwaite — ward meeting May 13.

Meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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