Recap: City Council

Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:15 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items, and some presentations, can be found online.

Meeting called to order at 8:20 p.m. Alderman Burrus is absent.

Crime statistics for 2014

Here's the presentation.

Overall crime up 0.6 percent. Big increase in theft and moto vehicle theft.

But crimes against persons were down more than 20 percent.

Traffic accidents were up five percent last year — apparently because of much heavier snowfall in the winter months of 2014 compared to 2013.

Worst location for accidents continued to be the intersection of Ridge Avenue and Emerson Street.

Plan to continue emphasis on ticketing for distracted driving this year.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, asks about bike/car accidents — causes and who's at fault.

Police Chief Richard Eddington says doesn't have it tonight but will provide it soon.

Property taxes … due March 3

Can call 847-448-8168 at city for information.

Senior tax exemption needs to be applied for each year. Deadline for that now extended to April 1.

Health Director Evonda Thomas-Smith promotes the Women Out Walking program, Starts March 21 at ETHS … and National Kick Butts Day coming up next month.

Public Comment

Most comments appear to be on the Ladd Arboretum bike path issue, which was thoroughly discussed at the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

And Barbara Janes questions whether the Harley Clarke task force's scope of consideration is limited to public use options for the mansion (which she favors), or anything else.

Consent agenda

We'll note items taken off the consent agenda … which are …

  • Ladd Arboretum bike path funding agreement
  • Terra Engineering contract for Ladd arboretum bike path.
  • Designated 1823 Church as Morrison Cultural Center
  • Zoning relief for an open parking space at 521 Ridge
  • Forgivable loan agreement with ZS Associates
  • Hotel-Motel tax sharing agreement with ZS Associates

Consent agenda approved.

Ladd Arboretum bike path

Alderman Holmes says AP&W committee had a long discussion and moved to send to council without recommendation.

Alderman Rainey asks for clarification about timing of construction and use of the grants.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says could still get the construction done this year if decision is made by next council meeting, Feb. 23.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says there were two meetings with the Ladd Arboretum Committee … a public meeting about the proposal and two debates at the City Council. 

Bobkiewicz says this is Evanston, we can have more meetings if you like (Gets chuckles.)

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says should have another meeting. Says doesn't seem to be much reason for deviating from the arboretum master plan.

Grover says the master plan refers to the path as "a shared use path" and that the bike plan calls for a connection through the arboretum. Says accessiblity is key to the plan.

Says the path should be a minimum of eight feet wide and a two foot wide cleared area on both sides — which is the proposal now before the council.

Says the path should be accessible 12 months out of the year.

Says she's wary, though, about using asphalt.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says want to make sure it's not a "thoroughfare."

Mayor says she wants to know from the folks at Over the Rainbow how accessible crushed granite is.

Decision is to hold the issue until the next council meeting and hold a public meeting on the issue between now and then.

Noyes Street Cafe liquor license elimination … because restaurant closed … given final approval.

Morrison Cultural Center … amended to be Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center …. and approved.

Open front yard parking space at 521 Ridge … approved. Alderman Fiske says she's voting against it. Says doesn't believe there's hardship, says is access off Elmwood. Approved 7-1.

Forgivable loan agreement with ZS Associates. Alderman Rainey says she's opposed to fee NU is charging for ZS exiting early from its lease at 1800 Sherman Ave. to move to new space in the Rotary building. Approved 8-0.

Hotel-Motel tax sharing agreement with ZS Associates. Approved 8-0.

Call of the wards

Wilson … 4th Ward meeting Feb 25 at 7p at McGaw YMCA.

Holmes … 5th Ward meeting Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at Fleetwood.

Rainey … asks legal department for advice on potential of banning guns in multi-family buildings.

Braithwaite … 2nd ward meeting 7p Feb. 12 at D65 HQ.

Wynne … gives long recollection of Ned Lauterbach.

Council votes to go into executive session.

Public meeting ends at 9:47 p.m.

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