With a new police outpost as a symbol, City of Evanston efforts to revive the Howard Street business district are heading west.
After voting to lease out the current city-owned outpost at 633 Howard, aldermen voted 7-2 Monday night to rent a new, smaller outpost at 745 Howard St.
Aldermen Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, and Don Wilson, 4th Ward, voted against the lease for the new outpost.
Wilson said he doesn’t believe the city any longer needs to have a police outpost on Howard Street — especially since the current outpost is usually vacant except when it’s being used for community meetings.
The city bought up roughly half the property in the block between Callan and Custer that includes the existing outpost and has entered subsidized lease-purchase deals with entrepreneurs to turn them into a cocktail lounge, a brewpub and a coffee shop.
It’s also been acquiring property in the next block west — between Custer and Elmwood.
City owned property, highlighted in green, and the new police outpost site, highlighted in blue.
The city has acquired three foreclosed properties on the block:
- 727-29 Howard — purchased in 2011 for $325,000 and once proposed for redevelopment as a theater before planned renovations came in way over budget.
- 721-23 Howard — purchased last March for $95,000.
- 717 Howard — purchased in September for $97,500.
Other than the mothballed theater project, no specific plans have been announced yet for redeveloping any of the city-owned properties on the 700 block of Howard.