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Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee

Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 6:07 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Payroll, bills and credit card activity approved.

A 3.1 – MWRD sludge disposal charge $328K for the year. Approved.

A 3.2 – Green Bay Road landscape maintenance contract. $24K with Landscape Concepts Management. Approved.

A 3.3 – Building automation service agreement for police HQ. $26K with Siemens Building technologies of Mount Prospect. Approved.

A 3.4 – Lakefront lagoon renovations project. Clauss Brothers $1.387 million. Approved. Related story.

A 4 – Grant agreement with state historic preservation agency to inventory and record landmark properties outside historic districts. Related story.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, objects to spending money for this — says homeowners should have to pay for it. Otherwise obligation of city should just be to notify the people involved. Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, says she agrees — that it's a waste of money.

Rainey suggests brokers should know and tell their clients.

Mark Meunzer, community development director, says the project will also do statements of significance for the properties.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says its an extraordinary opportunity — its very unlikely will ever have the opportunity again to get the grant money.

Says with combination of the state agency funding it's very inexpensive for the city.

Committe votes to hold the proposal in committee.

A 5 – Ladd Arboretum preliminary design submission to Illinois Department of Transportation.

Assistant Public Works Director Homayoon Pirooz does a presentation of proposed improvements.

Says plan would replace the existing gravel path with an asphalt path the same width mostly on the same alignment.

Says can't plow the gravel path — could plow an asphalt version.

(Path is used by children walking to Kingsley and Haven schools.)

Assuming state approves the grant funding, construction would occur in summer of 2015.

Plan would add sidewalk near the street in section near Prairie Avenue — where the path now goes behind a row of trees. (That path would still be preserved.)

Public Comment

Jim Larochelle, 2104 Grant St., says prefers crushed stone path. Says asphalt would not be an improvement to the arboretum.

Says there is an existing asphalt path through Twiggs Park that is plowed and could be used by students instead. Then they'd use the Green Bay – McCormick intersection to cross which has a traffic signal.

Says students now cross at Prairie where there's only a crossing guard, or at Brown, where there's no aid to crossing at all.

Pam Johnson, 807 Madison St., says she's concerned about trees dying off if the path is paved.

Says Lake County uses crushed gravel for most of their paths. Says it also works fine at Perkins Woods.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says the grant application originall called for crushed stone — but was changed because of availability and accesssibility of the path and was explained at two meetings last fall.

Says we wanted a path available all year round for all users. Says crushed stone isn't user friendly for people using wheels — whether its a bike or a wheel chair.

Says trying to make a bike path connection from the Skokie parks through a Poplar Street connection to a path in Wilmette.

Says the IDOT rule requires a 3-foot wide buffer on each side of the paved area. Says IDOT usually requires a 12-foot wide path, as in Skokie, but has been flexible on the width in consideration of Evanston's concerns.

Paul D'Agostino, assistant public works director, says city knows how to build a path and minimize tree damage. Did it on the lakefront. And regardless of surface type still have to do excavation to provide a base for the path.

Robinson says that because of clay soil neither crushed stone nor asphalt will be permeable.

With the asphalt can have enough pitch to get the water over to the grass area, rather than having it pond in the crushed stone.

Pirooz says will need to do less excavation for asphalt than would have for crushed stone — so it will do less damage to tree roots.

Virginia Beatty, 1509 Forest Ave., raises questions about path alignment.

Rainey says nobody loves trees more than the staff and aldermen. Says will watch the plans for the project very carefully.

Robinson says Beatty gave staff a list of seven items at meeting last Monday. Says will look into all those issues but need to get the preliminary design approved and sent to IDOT for review.

Proposal is approved by the committee.

A 6 – Service agreement with Evanston Community Media Center. $51.6K each this year and next.

Approved.

A 7 – ECTV lease agreement at municipal service center for $1 per year.

Approved.

A 8 – Solor panel donation to be installed at Ecology Center and Fleetwood-Jourdain. Approved.

Discussion item

New bills list format

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons initially proposes alpha order. Rainey wants it by department.

Lyons says goal is to have each item on the bills list (in electronic form) be clickable to display the invoice for the item.

Lyons says new software lets them reformat the bills list pretty much anyway you want.

Meeting adjourned at 7:19 p.m.

No Planning and Devleopment Committee meeting tonight.

City Council meeting is likely to start around 7:30 p.m.

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