Voters in only three of Evanston’s nine wards will have a choice for alderman in the April 9 election. With early voting starting today, here’s a look at the races in each of those wards.
Evanston’s 1st Ward includes a complex mix of single-family homes, condominiums and co-ops and rental apartments just west and south of the Northwestern University campus as well as parts of downtown Evanston.
Incumbent Judy Fiske has been a reliable ally of lakefront single-family homeowners in Precinct 4 in opposing bed and breakfasts and almost anything else that might change the status quo along the waterfront.
She also has long been allied with efforts by single-family homeowners in Precinct 3, where she lives, to oppose expansion of the university west of Sheridan Road.
Serving so far during a lull in downtown development, she has had little opportunity to vote on major new projects, but she was one of only two aldermen in January to vote against reviving the 1890 Maple and 1881 Oak high-rise project in the 2nd Ward, and also opposed revised plans for the Central Station development in the 7th Ward.
On her campaign website she says she is “working with developers to establish several new office and residential projects that will bring hundreds of consumers into the downtown.”
But so far those efforts have generally not borne fruit and a representative of the owners of 1515 Chicago Ave., complaining that the office building Fiske wants there is financially unfeasible opted to demolish the existing building on the site, after sensing no support for their plans to build an extended stay hotel on the property instead.
Fiske, a former real estate sales agent and long-time Evanston resident, now owns a pet supply store on Davis Street.
Challenger Ed Tivador was one of the early purchasers of a condominium in the high-rise Sherman Plaza development downtown.
Tivador and Fiske both say they’re opposed to plans for 35-story condominium tower at 708 Church St., which would obstruct the clear views of the lake that many Sherman Plaza residents now have.
That project’s planned development permit runs out at the end of the year, and so far there’ve been no signs the developers have the financing to be able to move forward with it.
Both candidates say they favor “balanced” development, but Tivador suggests Fiske only represents the single-family homeowner segment of the ward — ignoring the interests of high-rise condo owners, residents of older-adult retirement communities and the university.
Tivador, the superintendent of Northbrook/Glenview School District 30, also said, in an interview session that Fiske declined to attend, that he favors limiting property tax increases to the rate of inflation. Over the past four years, Evanston aldermen have raised property taxes at twice that rate.
The 6th is Evanston’s most easily defined ward, occupying the northwest corner of the of the city. It is dominated by single family homes, although it has some multi-family housing, concentrated along Central Street and in two retirement communities.
Tendam says he’s supported “responsible” economic development projects — including Curt’s Cafe, the Old Neighborhood Grill and Central Street Cafe, but opposed a McDonald’s.
He also backed a scaled-down version of a Chase Bank branch that had drawn opposition from neighbors around Crawford Avenue and Gross Point Road.
Sloane says he wants to bring “fiscal restraint and respect for your money” to city hall.
Reflecting the large number of families with children in the ward, both candidates say they back a proposed indoor sports facility in the former city recycling center, which so far has not won City Council approval.
Both candidates participated in a video interview with local reporters earlier this month.
In Evanston’s 5th Ward, two-term incumbent Delores Holmes faces a write-in challenge from community activist Carlis Sutton.
Running from just west of the Northwestern University campus to the North Shore Channel, the ward includes some of the city’s most economically challenged precincts.
In response to a League of Women Voters’ questionnaire, Holmes said she supports efforts to expand existing businesses and attract new ones across the city and investments in “local neighborhods that will help create equity.”
Sutton said he also favors development, but that “any substantial infrastructure requirements would be the responsibility of the developer, not the taxpayers.”
Both candidates talked about their positions on taxes and job creation in a video interview with local reporters.