Minority contractors team with branchers

A group that says it represents minority contractors in Evanston says it’s teaming up with the Friends of the Evanston Public Library for a joint protest rally Saturday.

The Evanston Minority Business Consortium says that it plans to work with the branch library fans "to make the city council accept" the groups’ demands that at least 60 percent of subcontracting work in the city’s $18 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant go to minority- or women-owned or Evanston-based businesses, that the existing north and south branch libraries be maintained and a that new library branch be created on the city’s west side.

The city is currently promising that at least 25 percent of the subcontracting work on the federal grant will go to minority, woman or Evanston-based firms.

The city’s Library Board Monday approved a budget that adds more money for operation of the north and south branch libraries but makes no provision for additional branches.

The City Council is faced with deciding how to close a $3.5 million gap in its 2011 budget, and the city manager is scheduled to release a proposed budget outlining possible cuts on Friday.

What’s being called the "fair share rally" will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Parker Room at Lake Street Church, 607 Lake St.

Update 2:18 p.m.: In response to an e-mailed question from Evanston Now, Laurie Keenan, vice-president of the library friends group, says her group "believes that a library on the West Side would be a great complement to the work funded by NSP2." Keenan’s statement did not embrace the minority contractors’ demand for a greater share of the work generated by the federal grant.

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