Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl talked up the city’s economic development efforts in her annual state of the city address this afternoon.

After sitting next to Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro at the Hilton Orrington, Tisdahl said she expects that Evanston will become the home to all the new spinout companies created as a result of research work at the university.

And she said that, though she still gets asked about how relations are with the university, she hopes relations will soon have been so good for so long that nobody will bother to ask about it any more.

She noted that NU donated $253,000 to the city last year to pay for a new fire engine, and that construction projects on campus this year are expected to generate more than $2 million in building permit fee revenue for the city.

Hecky Powell introducing the mayor.

The mayor, who was introduced by local business owner Hecky Powell, who received the leadership award from the Arts and Business Committee of the city’s Arts Council at the luncheon, said the city has dramatically increased its economic development staff — from one part-time employee to six workers assigned full time to the mission.

And she listed a variety of businesses that either already have opened in town or have announced plans to come here or expand here — from a new Trader Joe’s store to the new, and expanding, Few Spirits distillery.

And from the new CoLab Evanston shared workspace for entrepreneurs to the nearly century-old IRMCO, which produces lubricants for the auto industry and now is working with the city to expand its capacity and increase its employment levels by a third.

The mayor also said the city is working hard on efforts to better prepare young people for available jobs in the community.

And she talked up the city’s efforts to respond to the housing crisis and create more affordable housing.

She said residents on Grey Avenue told her two years ago that when homes are foreclosed, “people move out and crime moves in.”

Now, she said, the first family to buy a home under the city’s $18 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program federal grant has moved onto Grey Avenue and neighbors have organized a block club to help strengthen the area.

About 200 people attended the luncheon meeting organized by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce.

Related document

Full text of the mayor’s state of the city speech

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. State of the City Bankruptcy for the Taxpayers!

    Mayor as usually avoids the real issue, the city continues to move to Bankruptcy.   At close to 1/2 billion dollars in debt.  and a 4.62% property tax increase this year coupled with fees increases that amount to a effective 8% property tax increase, she does not want to face reality.

    Her slum  grant program, is not going to work those that would buy the properties can not afford the taxes, she talks about the rest of us paying for those who can not afford the taxes, a real joke.

    She claims the art center mansion is falling down – a out right lie! It is in disrepair and needs fixes it is not structural unsound. She could have charged the art center more than a $1 rent a year for all the years she was on the council.

    She claims we are in good shape since we hired 6 people to do economic development – another $500,000 to the budget – do you think the economic development they will generate will pay their salaries?  With give aways like the bar on Howard street!

    The word is the council is done with cutting – and plans to start raising taxes, so what have they done these last few years?

  2. When is next election for city government?

    How long is the term for the mayor and council members?  Who is up for election next?

    1. City election

      The next election for local officials in Evanston will be held in April 2013. The mayor and all nine aldermen will be up for election, as will the city clerk, the township supervisor and assessor and four of the seven members of each of the two school boards.

      — Bill

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