Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this evening’s Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to get underawy at 6 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:12 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Payroll approved.

Bills approved.

A3.1 – Sherman Plaza maintenance agreement $115K from parking fund. Approved.

A3.2 – Sherman Plaza garage roof fence. Related story.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the existing wall around the roof is about four feet high. Is proposing a six-foot tall chain-link fence to try to keep people off the retaining wall.

Says of course people could climb over it — but hopes it will deter people from casually climbing onto it.

Parking Division Manager Rickey Voss says the fence would actually start about three feet up from the base of the wall and be fastened to the wall and rise to a total height of six feet..

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, says she’s opposed to the fence — says somebody would have to want to be up there to get there.

Says people might just climb the fence and then sit on the ledge.

Says unless are going to start putting up fences everywhere …. seems to be overly affraid and risk intolerant.

Bobkiewicz says staff has grappled with it as long as the garage has been there. But says after looking at it he was very uncomfortable with the situation.

Burrus asks how long garage has been up. Since 2006 … so eight years.

Says previous garage was there for nearly 40 years.

Says hasn’t heard of any accidental falls from the garage in all that time.

Bobkiewicz says not aware of any.

Burrus says we’re coming up with a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist — haven’t had problems with people falling off. (As opposed to intentionally jumping off the roof.

Burrus asks whether put on Maple Avenue? Bobkiewicz says would suggest doing that next.

Bobkiewicz says his professional judgement is that are at risk as a community leaving it the way it is.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says difference may be the concerns of the neighbrs — residents at Sherman Plaza — looking out and seeing kids playing there.

Burrus — think it’s not really a risk issue — but a neighbor issue in trying to keep people from going up there.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she will vote against it as well. Says we’ve got a lake where people drown themselves and swim off the rocks.

Says she argued against the sculpture at the Maple Avenue garage — of people teetering, nearly falling off a ledge.

If somebody wants to jump off a building — they’ll just go to another building.

Says would need to go to every building citywide … and to every private building that has access to the roof and put up a six foot fence on all of them.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says it’s not mainly about people jumping, but about kids sitting on the parapet and throwing things off — potentially hurting people on the street below.

Says its easy to imagine an accident happening — and this is designed to avoid that. Says not sure that Maple Avenue garage is as much of “an accident waiting to happen.”

Rainey says a chain link fence is not going to prevent anybody from throwing something onto Davis Street .

Says if the neighbors are concerned, they need to get the cops over there. In addition city is paying a fortune to Standard Parking to police the garage.

Voss says staff actively attempts to keep people off the deck.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says he hasn’t heard of similar problems at the Maple Avenue garage, which is in his ward.

Bobkiewicz says it’s his recommendation — he believes the situation poses a risk for the city.

Rainey says would rather build the best skate park money can buy so the skaters wouldn’t be up on the garage — says that would be better way to deal with the problem.

Rainey says stupid people cost the city a lot of money every day. There are garages all over.

Motion fails 4-1 … Grover casts the only vote for it.

A3.3 – Civic Center boiler building roof replacement. $37K Approved.

A3.4 Sherman Avenue paving $579K. A. Lamp Concrete. Approved.

A3.5 Ambulance power-load system from Stryker Corp. $36K. Approved. (Foreign Fire Tax Board to fund a second one.)

A3.6 Nine vehicle replacement purchases $534K. Three vendors. Approved

A3.7 Water Meter Purchase $73K. Approved. These are substitute for recently installed meters that are solar powered and require a flashlight shining on them to be illuminated. Some people have complained that they’re hard to read.

A4 Automatic Meter Information System project change order … decreases price by $1K, extends term by 131 days to Nov. 21. Approved.

A5 Adoption of Freedom of Information Act policy. Approved.

A6 Intergovermental agreement with ETHS for police staffing at high school and for school to employ a community and external affairs coordinator to work on vocational training activities. Approved.

A7 Capital Improvement Plan reimbursement TK from GO bonds. Approved.

A8 Approve borroing from IEPA water pollution control loan program. Approved.

A9 Increase in cell phone use while driving fine from $50 to $75. Approved.

A10 Increase bikes on sidewalk fine from $15 to $25. 

Rainey wants to know number of bike accidents on sidewalks and the number of fines issued.

Says she thinks this is a bigger problem than people playing on tall buildings.

Holmes says she’s concerned … wants mandatory licenses for bicycles. By time somebody might call police the person is gone. Says when you drive in front of my car at stop light I ought to be able to write that down and call the police.

Braithwaite asks about enforcement.

Approved.

A11 Liquor license for DMK Burger & Fish.

Jane Evans, 813 Gaffield, says should be distinction between beer and wine and full liquor license, also says should be requirement that people be served food with their booze.

Says DMK is a fast food establishment, says she goes to it. But says must have food service with the liquor.

Says neighborhood is a very tenuous community when it comes to liquor — this isn’t downtown, she says.

Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar says at meeting after the last council meeting with restaurant owner and others discussed issue and since then law department has drafted change to the ordinance that restricts service to beer and wine, at least to start, and would have to petition the liquor control commisisoner to expand that in the future.

Approved as amended.

Meeting adjourned at 7:06 p.m.

City Council meeting to start in 15 minutes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. Fence at Sherman Garage

    While it is clear that some alderman in our city are just too shortsighted to see the dangers of not putting a fence on the top deck of the garage, I strongly object to some of the comments of two of our aldermen.  Ann Rainey, our bastion of what is fair and what is not, says people are stupid!  Is this any way for an elected official to address the citizens!  She also says maybe we should spend money on a skate park versus a fence.  

    Then we have Colleen Burrus making the statement that since no one has fallen off the roof before, there is no reason to attempt to prevent a potentially life threatening event.  I guess she and alderman Rainey think that $25,000 is too much to spend to protect our youth.  No, it is more about the fact that this is something requested by a 1st ward citizen and anything suggested by them is worthless.  I think Ann Rainey's expiration date has long since passed and Colleen Burrus just does not get it.  On the other hand,kudos to Wally and Ricky, for trying to get it done!

  2. Fence at Sherman Garage

    Rather then a Chain Link Fence   they should consider putting up a three foot Barbed Wire Fence. that should keep people off.

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