Five neighbors objected this afternoon to plans to have the Salvation Army purchase the Second Church of Christ, Scientist, property at 2715 Hurd Ave. in northwest Evanston.

Anne Smiley, who lives at 2716 Lincolnwood Drive, across the alley from the church, told members of the city’s Design and Project Review Committee she doesn’t believe the Salvation Army is a church. “The reality is it’s more of a business that would be set up in a residential area.”

The Second Church of Christ, Scientist, building at 2715 Hurd Ave. (Google Maps)

She claimed the Salvation Army’s presence in the building, located across the street from Willard School, would lead to an increase in traffic and would be detrimental to the health and safety of children.

Smiley’s husband, Henry Kohn, said the Salvation Army would be “a social service agency on land that should be used for single family housing.”

Peter Boyle.

Their neighbor, Peter Boyle, of 2708 Lincolnwood Drive, said the existing church is only in use four hours per week, and the Salvation Army’s move into the building would “exponentially increase” its use and make the neighborhood look more like a business district.

“I moved here to be surrounded by homes, not businesses, Boyle said.

Rick Planos, of 2646 Lincolnwood Drive, said the Salvation Army does great things, but not things that the community necessarily needs.

And Nadia Dimitrisevic of 2821 Thayer St., two blocks from the church, asked how the community could be sure that there wouldn’t be “registered sex offenders” turning up for Salvation Army programs.

Mitchell Melamed.

Mitchell Melamed, an attorney for the Salvation Army, said the church plans to move to Hurd from its existing building at 1415 Sherman Ave. near downtown Evanston, which he described as being in disrepair.

The Salvation Army property at 1415 Sherman Ave.

He said he anticipated the army, which describes itself as “an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church,” would eventually sell the Sherman Avenue building and that the site would likely ultimately be redeveloped for apartments or condominiums.

Melamed said the Hurd Avenue property would serve only as a church and that the group anticipates having between five and 30 people turn out for its various programs during the week. The Hurd property has 30 parking spaces, so “parking won’t be an issue,” Melamed added. The army has 10 parking spaces at its current location.

He said the group operates a food pantry on Sherman Avenue from 10 a.m. to noon on Fridays that draws about 10 people per week, but that it has no immediate plans to offer the food pantry service at the new location and would return to the city to seek a separate permit for that use if it decided to offer it in the future.

He added that the group has no plans to operate a resale store at the Hurd site or to accept donations of clothing or other items there. Its nearest store and donation center is at 4335 Oakton St. in Skokie.

Members of the Design and Project Review Committee asked Melamed to clarify some of the plans for use of the Hurd Avenue property. He indicated those revisions could be available for the DAPR meeting either next Wednesday or the following week.

The Salvation Army proposal is currently scheduled to go before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Salvation Army

    So interesting that the libs in Evanston (and all of Cook County) support social services UNLESS in their neighborhood!!

    1. Just say yes to Salvation Army Church

      The Salvation Army is a church.

      The Salvation Army church started in England around 1865.

      The Salvation Army currently has a church located in Evanston at 1403 Sherman Avenue.

      The Salvation Army wants to buy another church in Evanston.

      The Salvation Army has done and continues to great work in Evanston and around the world.

      So what’s the problem?

    2. Plus ca change

      Why does anyone think that there are more “registered sex offenders” among the very poor than anywhere else? The people living in these houses have their fair share of sex offenders, perpetrators of domestic violence, etc etc. These things are not confined to the poor.  Why does “poor”, especially “minority poor” mean crime to these residents? Tell it like it is – these residents don’t want to have poor people in their neighborhood. They don’t want to greet them on the street, or see them. We saw much of the same discussion when the Goodwill was put in at the Dempster/Dodge intersection, which is a commercial district. Just give them a soup kitchen in some other part of town, because property values are more important than giving desperate people a hand up, or letting them receive services in a “nice” neighborhood.  I’ve known much nicer people in much worse neighborhoods.

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