Recap: Evanston City Council

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

7:28 p.m.

The meeting called to order. All aldermen except Colleen Burrus, 9th Ward, are present.

Mayor says it was a very good week last week — new viaducts installed, grant received for a community health center and another grant for rebuilding the lakefront lagoon.

Evonda Thomans, health director says the grant is expected to be ongoing annual support for the health center at a level of $650,000.

Expect to see 5,000 dental and 24,000 medical visits by the end of year one.

Location still unknown. Will be eight medical providers and two dental providers.

Mayor says Sen. Durbin and Rep Schakowsky were fabulously helpful in working to get the grant.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says anticipates the new center will not require any cash support from the city.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says center will serve Skokie and other surrounding communities as well as Evanston.

7:37 p.m.

Parks Director Doug Gaynor talks about the grant from the state for the lagoon. Notes the Arrington family has made $500,000 donation to the project. Will require $100,000 of city money to complete the project.

Says will be able to completely rebuild the stage area, the brickwork around the lagoon, and repair the leaks in the lagoon itself.

Says construction will probably start next April.

7:40 p.m.

City gets Tree City USA award for the 29th straight year — one of the longest continuous awards in the state. Notes the city has over 32,000 trees on public property.

7:44 p.m.

Announcement about upcoming 4th of July celebration.

7:47 p.m.

New IT manager Jose Calderone, 7-year resident of Evanston's 3rd ward, introduced.

7:51 p.m.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, moves to take off the table the items related to the Evanston Plaza TIF.

7:52 p.m.

Citizen Comment

Because of number of speakers, the mayor says, each will have about 2 minutes.

Tim Eberhardt, 2nd Ward resident, says he favors the Dempster-Dodge TIF. Says would like the plaza to be more walkable … and reduction in fast food outlets.

Diane Thodos, 2668 Orrington Ave., says favors pulling money out of Chase and putting it into local banks.

Bea Rashid, director of Dance Center Evanston, speaks in favor of Dempster-Dodge TIF.

Dan Coyne, 827 Monroe, claims Ridgeville Park board is engaging in institutional racism. Wants parks to be a wonderful gathering place for all.

8:26 p.m.

Consent Agenda

Information about agenda items can be found online here.

Taken off consent agenda:

A 6 – $75K contract with Krivanek + Breaux for new public art for Sherman Plaza Garage. (at the request of Alderman Fiske)

A 15, A 16, A 17 and A 18 .. all related to the Dempster-Dodge TIF removed from consent agenda at request of Alderman Wilson, and others.

Consent agenda approved.

Sherman garage art

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she plans to vote against it. Says there's already art at Sherman Plaza (“The Sea of the Ear- Ring” ).

Calls this new piece a "fill-in." Says it's not the artist's best work.

Suggests doing something at plaza across from the library by the same artist instead. 

Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, says the project is beautifully designed and he strongly supports it. Says it will be highly visible. Believes city will be very happy to have it. Thinks it will become a destination.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he initially had reservations about the project, but now plans to go forward with it. Says "we have a public art committee for a reason."

Approved 7-1.

Terra restaurant liquor license

Alderman Holmes moves for immediate adoption. Approved 8-0.

Dempster-Dodge tax increment financing district

Alderman Wilson says the shopping center is important to him, he's there all the time, wants it to succeed.

But disappointed that don't have a specific redevelopment plan. It amounts to a cash stream for a private property owner. Doesn't assure that residents will have anything to say about it.

Says the immediate $2 million of needs are things the property owner — who got it at a discount at an auction — should be covering.

Says the nature of the property should be better. Doesn't want to put flowers in front of it but see real change in the neighborhood.

Alderman Tendam says doesn't see an excited partner in this — says the owner hasn't seen anything that would take the project beyond just a viable center — to make it what the vision of the neighborhood is.

Fiske says she agrees with Wilson about the $2 million being work the landlord should pay for — but she plans to vote for the TIF itself.

A 15 – TIF redevelopment plan is approved 6-2.

A 16 – TIF designation approved 6-2

A 17 – TIF allocation financing approved 6-2

A 18 – TIF redevelopment agreement with Bonnie Management (owners of the plaza).

Rainey says info from staff presented at the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting helped persuade her to vote for this proposal.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz recaps presentation he made at that meeting.

Says wouldn't be doing cosmetic work.

Bobkiewicz says Dominick's chain in Chicago area is becoming smaller. Says parent company has major presence on U.S. east and west coasts…but not much in midwest. Fears that will need to find new tenant when that lease expires in 2020.

Says need to be nimble looking forward for that change.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says the agenda item only asks authorization to negotiate an agreement. Can still build in other provisions–perhaps including a parallel investment by the plaza owner.

Approved 5-3. Fiske, Wilson, Tendam vote no.

9:01 p.m.

Call of the Wards

Holmes and Tisdahl say there will be a "Know Your Neighbor" discussion coming up Aug. 9 … regarding racial issues in community. 

Fiske praises Arrington family for the lagoon contribution.

Braithwaite thanks neighbors for support of TIF. Thursday fundraiser for Grandmother Park … 5p.

Wynne … makes reference to A&PW committee regarding rats. Says city will bait in single-family neighborhoods. But doesn't provide that service for condos. Need to have comprehensive effort.

Wilson — people need to do what can to not create hospitable environment for rats. Says will a little bit of effort from residents …to bag trash and secure it in carts would do a lot to improve the situation.

9:16 p.m.

Council votes to go into executive session.

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