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

The meeting was called to order at 6:04 p.m.

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

Minutes approved.

Payroll approved.


Junad Rizki asks for accounting of costs for building the patio at Peckish Pig.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she and city manager will be happy to provide invoice provided to Peckish Pig. Says total was about $18,000.

Rainey says Rizki makes things so depressed and ugly .. need to get out of it and enjoy life.

Says both Peckish Pig and Ward Eight were packed with customers on Friday night when she was there. Says thinks he’s alone in his objections to progress on the south end of town.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says it’s a receivable to the city. Issued bill end of August for 18,412.23 to Peckish Pig for the patio. Says will be interest charged if bill isn’t paid by the end of September.

Bills list approved.

Only three aldermen are here for this meeting — Rainey, Jane Grover and Delores Holmes, who’s chairing the meeting.

A3.1 – Water treatment facility roof replacement $709K with Garland/DBS. Approved.

A3.2 – Street light purchase for “Safer Neighobrhood Area Project. Increases wattage of Tallmadge lights in certain neighborhoods. Sole source purchase from Elcast Lighting (the only manufacture of the Tallmadge lights). $24.6K Approved.

A3.3 – Pitner/Dempster sidewalk project. $167K. Schroeder & Schroeder. Approved.

A4 – Street resurfacing project change order to add additional streets. $345K. A.Lamp Concrete. Approved.

A5 – Property tax application discount for Little Beans Cafe.

Cafe owners say need the tax break to make the business viable.

Alderman Rainey says really appreciate their perserverance on this project. For eight to nine years nobody’s been able to pull this off. Says many neighbors are absolutely thrilled that you’re going to be there.

Owner says it’s a “play cafe” a cafe with play spaces for kids — one for ages 0-6, the other from 5-12 — and a small gym. Lets parents talk to friends and watch their kids play.

Plan to serve coffee, pastries and ice cream. Also do birthday parties for the kids.

Hope to be open by early- to mid-January.

Junad Rizki says are giving away a million dollars in taxes. Think about that when cut the budget this year, he says. Says he’s not depressed, but this council doesn’t like to deal with the facts.

Rainey says property has been vacant and deteriorating — nobody, even with deep pockets, wants to take it over without assistance — given its deteriorated state.

Says the least we can do is support this application to the county.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says Cook County assessor gets to actually make the decision on whether to grant the application. (But City Council resolution of support is a requirement for the assessor to grant it.)


A6 – TIF redevelopment agreement for Evanston Plaza Shopping Center

Would change exising TIF agreement to provide for negotiation with new ownership of the center.

Frank Greco of Valli Produce says the business has four other properties where they both operate stores and own the property. Says see similar opportunity here and wants to be owner-operator here.

Architect makes presentation of prelimary design plans — which would expand the grocery store into most of the rental space that now faces Dodge Avenue.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she’s very impressed with proposed design — says it compares very favorably with the conversion of the Dominick’s on Howard to a Jewel — says shoppers there don’t see any difference from the old Dominick’s.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, asks when the store will be opening.

Greco says preliminarily looks like a June 1st opening next year.

Says will be expanding the store from 58,000 square feet to 69,000 square feet.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, (who just arrived at the meeting) says neighbors really appreciate the plans for the new store.

Says some have been going to the Arlington Heights store … where would you recommend you go visit, he asks? Greco says the Hoffman Estates store is about 58,000 square feet compared to the 30,000+ size of the Arlington Heights store. (One of their other stores is more than 90,000 square feet — much larger than what’s planned here.)

Premature, one of the other Valli reps says, to speculate about other new tenants — can’t say until after they actually have closed on the property and have signed leases with new tenants.

Greco says could have between 100 and 200 employees. Hours could be in range of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Resolution approved.

Meeting adjourned.

Planning and Development Committee meeting to start at 7:15 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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