Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to approve an easement agreement with Northwestern University to let the city replace its 84-year-old, five-million-gallon water storage reservoir located on the school’s land.
The deal includes a provision that will bar the use of the surface of the 1.15 acre site for parking, which will mean the closure of what’s now referred to as the reservoir lot at the southwest corner of Lincoln Street and Campus Drive.
The closure is related to environmental concerns about possible seepage of road salt and other chemicals into the new reservoir if parking were allowed.
In a related agreement, aldermen Monday are also scheduled to approve a reduction in the total number of parking spaces required on campus, which would eliminate the need for the school to add any new spaces to replace the ones elminated by the closure of the reservoir lot.
In a memo to aldermen, Community Development Director Johanna Leonard says the current city parking rules double-count some students both as “students” and as “residents” of the dorms that they live in.
The change would cut the schools required parking spaces from 4,096 to 3,493.
A 2015 parking study showd that peak usage of parking spaces on campus was about 3,079 spaces.
Construction of the new reservoir is expected to take nearly two years and will require closure of the west lane of campus drive throughout the construction process and complete closure of the road for limited periods
The city is agreeing under the easement to not conduct construction activity during commencement in June, the new student move-in period in September, or on Dillo Day in the spring.
It’s also agreeing to not begin construction work until 8 a.m. during periods when classes are in session.
The new easement agreement will extend for 95 years from the scheduled completion of the new reservoir.
Plans to replace the reservoir have been under discussion for several years. The cost of the project was estimated at $26 million in 2013.