Quantcast

More debate, no decision on Civic Center

Evanston aldermen heard briefly from residents who favor building a new city hall on the near west side Wednesday before going into an executive session to discuss what to do about the Civic Center.

Evanston aldermen heard briefly from residents who favor building a new city hall on the near west side Wednesday before going into an executive session to discuss what to do about the Civic Center.

After the session Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said the Civic Center Committee, composed of all nine aldermen, had reach no decisions.

During the public portion of the meeting, Walter Kihm, an Evanston-based developer, said the west side site, on the south side of Emerson Street just west of Ashland Avenue, would provide a unique opportunity to provide an anchor for redevelopment of the West Side Tax Increment Financing District established by the City Council a year ago.

Mr. Kihm said, "The right amount of land is available, and I think it can be acquired at a reasonable price. The area has good transportaion options and is almost at the geographical center of Evanston."

In addition, he said, "The neighborhood is behind it and you're not going to take the beatings on this from neighbors that you have over some other proposed sites."

David Cook, the city's assistant facilities director, told the aldermen the staff is still working on developing a detailed analysis of the space needed to accommodate each city department in a new building. "We should have preliminary report in a couple months," Mr. Cook said.

Meanwhile members of the Friends of the Civic Center continue to circulate petitions seeking an advisory referendum in April urging the council to keep the headquarers of city government where it is now.

One of the petition drive supporters, Brian Becharas of 619 Oakton St. said today "an Emerson location seems ridiculous to me. We already own a gorgeous, park-like setting, centrally located to serve all residents with plenty of parking and a beautiful old structure to boot."

City officials have argued that the current building requires such extensive repairs that it would be more economical to sell the existing building for redevelopment as condominiums and move city offices to a new location, but supporters of the current site say the repair cost estimates are greatly inflated.

Editors’ Picks