Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) encouraged City Council members Monday to support building a temporary soccer pitch on a city-owned vacant lot at Church Street and Darrow Avenue.
Evanston resident Neal Levin, CEO of Mettle Sports, which builds the temporary soccer fields, says it would cost about $150,000 to fund site preparation and buy and install two portable street soccer courts on the site.
Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak told the Administration and Public Works Committee the pitches could operate for two years, until the time the site is scheduled to be redeveloped for housing, and then be relocated elsewhere.
Burns said it would be a great way to activate a space that now isn’t used at all.
Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) called it “a wonderful possibility” for a site that she drives by daily from her teaching job at Evanston Township High School.
But Ald. Devon Reid (8th) said spending $150,000 on the property for just a couple of years “doesn’t seem like a good investment.” He suggested finding a different location.
And Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) suggested postponing the project until it could be included in the 2013 budget.
Zalmezak said some, but not all, of the costs could be covered by tax increment financing district funds and that he would work with the city’s Law Department to determine how much funding the TIF could cover.
The item was only on the committee agenda for discussion, and no vote was taken on it.