The city plans to launch an online registration system for arts, ecology and recreation classes next month.

But aldermen have voiced concerns about the program’s design — which will require new users to phone the city to request a password, or wait up to three days to have a password e-mailed to them.

“Almost any other registration system lets you signup without making a phone call ahead of time,” Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said at Monday’s Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

Parks and Recreation Director Doug Gaynor said the city plans to send letters with usernames and passwords to about 4,000 people who’ve signed up for recreation programs in recent years.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said she feared mailing the passwords would compromise the system’s security.

Mr. Gaynor said that once users go online they’ll be asked to change their password immediately.

Management & Budget Director Pat Casey said, “Somebody has to be the keeper of the password, it’s just like the bank or eBay.”

Ald. Holmes responded, “But I make up my own password for the bank.”

The new registration system will be available from a link on the main city website at starting in mid-August.

Mr. Gaynor said the city plans to reserve about 30 percent of all class slots for walk-in, phone or mail registration so that those who don’t have computer access will still have an opportunity to sign up. If those slots aren’t filled two weeks before the class is scheduled to start, they will be made available for online signup.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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