Development co-op seeks city funding

Dick Co speaking at a CIty Council meeting last October.

A co-op seeking to build energy-efficient affordable housing in Evanston will seek backing from the city's Economic Development Committee tonight for a request for $60,000 in city aid for the project.

The Evanston Development Cooperative is headed by Dick Co, a former Northwestern University chemistry professor.

Last fall he presented preliminary plans for the co-op to aldermen during a City Council special meeting on affordable housing and showed off samples of the highly-insulated prefabricated panels he's planning to use in construction projects.


Prefab panel samples displayed in the City Council Chambers last fall.

In addition to Co, founders of the co-op include Robinson Markus, Eric Dingle, Jonathan Nieuwsma and Beatriz Echeverria.

A staff memo says the city aid in launching the cooperative would come from federal Community Development Block Grant funds. It would cover a portion of the salaries for hiring two low-to-moderate income Evanston residents as co-op employees.

Co, who was also faculty advisor to a student team that won awards in 2017 for its solar home design in a national competition, anticipates completing one to two pilot projects by the end of this year and stepping up the pace of work in 2020.

The a proposed budget calls for raising $150,000 to $200,000 in additional capital this year from sale of Class B shares to co-op supporters.

It anticipates a total first year income in the neighborhood of $400,000 with just under $300,000 in expenses.

The EDC tonight is also scheduled to vote on a total of $51,000 in grants to eight neighborhood business districts, mostly for banners and planters for beautification projects.

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