The head of Evanston’s Equity and Empowerment Commission Thursday called for repeal of a city ordinance that lets people put chairs and blankets on the public parkway on Central Street three days ahead of the 4th of July parade.

Although the city code provision, section 7-2-9 (B), doesn’t specify who can put items on the parkway, Grover said that, in effect, it lets people who live nearby “claim their spot on public land to the exclusion, pretty much, of anybody who doesn’t live within a couple blocks of Central Street.”

Grover, who formerly represented the eastern reaches of Central Street as 7th Ward alderman, added, “So can we, you know, recommend a policy to outlaw anybody staking a claim to public space?”

Grover also suggested that perhaps the parade, which is sponsored by the non-profit Evanston 4th of July Association, should be moved, so it’s not always on Central Street.

A member of the audience suggested it should be on Emerson Street instead, which led Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, to mention that there are plans for a Juneteenth parade next year, to mark the June 19, 1865, end of slavery in Texas. That parade is planned for Dodge Avenue from Simpson Street to Evanston Township High School.

The commission took no immediate action on Grover’s suggestion.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Come on…

    With all due respect to Ms. Grover (a decent and dedicated public servant), this is insane. Traditions like the Central Street Fourth of July Parade bind a community together through the generations, and distinguish Evanston from becoming just another suburb. It is a part of who we are, as it was a part of who are parents were and a part of who their parents were. The continuity rooted in traditions (and yes, even the tradition of staking out parkway space a few days before) makes us stronger as a community. This is an example of Evanston’s worse impulse, which is the unfortunate need to offer solutions in search in of a problem. 

    I’m all for a Juneteenth parade as well. I hope the city allocates funds to it and supports its organizers every step of the way, and I look forward to attending. It sounds like an exciting opportunity to start a new city tradition, but it need not come at the expense of an old one. 

    1. entitlement

      I believe the 6AM start time allows most to have an equal chance at ‘staking claim’ to a spot regardless of location in Evanston.  The thought of not staking claim days in advance is not a bad idea. As a newer resident to Evanston it is obvious that many people do not even follow the rules of when you are allowed to start putting out something to save space with things going up late the night before every year.  Many excuses exist but it simply comes down to entitlement.  People feel as if a space they have used for years allows them to not follow the rules everyone else is subject too.  Its a bad look….

    2. Thank you Evan Stonian

      I could not agree more with Evan Stonian. Of all issues and opportunities we have as a community, this isn’t one. Thank you for your comment. 

  2. Occupying lawn chair at 6:00 on July, 1

    Can one begin occupying one’s lawn chair for the 4th of July parade starting at 6:00am on July 1?

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