Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, and got her start in Evanston politics when she was appointed to the Environment Board in 1993.
But it was her leadership of a failed 1996 effort to block establishment of a Boys Hope Girls Hope group home for girls across the street from her Hinman Avenue home that brought her to wide attention in the neighborhood and led to her successful 1997 victory over Alderman Emily Guthrie, who had voted to approve the project.
Now in her third term, and planning to run for a fourth, Wynne says she spends a lot of time trying to solve the issues of her ward’s residence.
One of these issues involves land along the city’s lakefront, which Wynne said she wants to make more user-friendly and accessible to residents.
The City Council adopted a master plan for the lakefront earlier this year that calls for improving pedestrian safety along Sheridan Road, improve bike and walking paths along the lakefront and provide a guide for redeveloping lakefront parks as funding becomes available.
The plan also rejects the idea of more intensive use of the lakefront or development of commercial uses there.
Wynne’s ward has seen substantial new development in recent years, with condo projects sprouting along the Chicago Avenue commercial strip.
But Wynne says, “We can’t just depend on condos” for future development in the neighborhood.
Wynne says she’s generally pleased with the redevelopment of Evanston’s downtown area.
“Downtown has changed entirely since I joined the council,” Wynne said. “We’ve created a real renaissance in the downtown.”
But she’s opposed to the current plan to build a 38-story retail and condominium building on the Fountain Square block.
She said the benefits of the building’s construction are not worth the costs and won’t solve the city’s problem of increasing tax revenue.
She said she favors attracting more businesses to the downtown area instead.
Wynne says diversifying the city’s tax base is a key to dealing with the city’s budget crisis.
Wynne said the budget has always been a problem for the city and it continues to be so.
Wynne said that through her years on the council, she has gained otherwise unattainable knowledge about how the city works, and residents who have such knowledge can greatly contribute to the city. “There is a lot to learn being on the city council,” Wynne said.
Melissa A. Wynne, 3rd Ward.
Education: B.A. in History at Duke University, 1979; Northwestern Law School, specialized in legislation law, 1987.
Evanston Resident: Since 1987.
Career: Lawyer, currently not practicing
Public Service: Alderman, 3rd Ward, since 1997.
Family: Married for 20 years, two children.
Contact the alderman
Melissa A. Wynne
Home: 1130 Hinman Ave., 60202
Phone: (847) 328-5651
Fax: (847) 328-1962