Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to approve a fundraising strategy for a new recreation center to replace the more than 40-year-old Robert Crown Community Center.
Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons told residents at a 2nd Ward meeting Thursday night that a new ice rink facility is likely to cost at least $30 million — more than 10 times the $2.5 million that it cost to construct the existing building.
Lyons said the City Council has committed $10 million in city funds toward the project and the library board has pledged $2.5 million toward the cost of a branch library planned for the new building.
He said the goal is to raise the rest of the funds from private donors — but that if the gifts fall short, the existing building could be rehabilitated for a cost of about $18 million.
To answer possible donor concerns about diversion of the funds to other city projects, the proposal to be discussed by aldermen Monday calls for creation of a separate foundation to oversee the capital fund donations.
And to provide some assurance that once the city has the new building it will maintain it adequately, the plan also calls for creating a separate city fund to provide for long-term maintenance of the new facility.
The fundraising plan developed by the city’s consultant, Community Counseling Services, provides naming opportunities ranging from the entire complex for a gift in the $5 million range down to a multi-purpose room for a gift at the $100,000 level.
It raises hopes that the city may be able to find one or more multi-million dollar donors to the project.
But it lays out a more detailed strategy for recruiting larger numbers of smaller scale donors — ranging from nine to 18 “leadership gifts” of $100,000 to $500,000 each, through 26 to 35 “major gifts” in the $25,000 to $50,000 range, to 175 to 180 “community gifts” of $10,000 or less.
It envisons four overlapping fundraising phases which would focus first on landing the biggest gifts and not start the “community gifts” phase until March 2017.
It calls for establishing a “Core Campaign Leadership” group of three to five people immediately and expanding that to a 10 to 20 member “Campaign Executive Cabinet” over the next 12 months.