Who cares about the tower?

Evanstonians who told aldermen what they think about the proposed 49-story Fountain Square tower project this week aren’t typical of the city’s population. And that’s true whether they favor or oppose the tower project.

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Speaker addresses: Red for tower opponents, blue for tower supporters.

The 45 Evanston residents, business owners and managers who spoke at Monday’s Planning and Development Committee meeting live mostly on the east side of town, with another cluster in northwest Evanston.

In a racially diverse community with a 65 percent white population according to the 2000 census, 100 percent of the residents who spoke Monday were white.

The speakers also are more likely than average to be single-family homeowners. Sixty-one percent of the speakers own their own homes, compared to 32 percent of all Evanston households.

Owners of condos and other single-family-attached dwellings were 27 percent of the speakers, compared to 20 percent of all Evanston households.

Renters, who account for almost half of Evanston residents, made up just 12 percent of the speakers Monday.

Homeowners who spoke also appear to be better off than the typical Evanston homeowner. Based on assessed values, a rough estimate of the average value of their homes is 50 percent higher than the median Evanston home value reported in a 2006 census bureau survey.

Speakers who live in downtown condos — faced with concerns about the value of their units in a soft housing market — universally opposed the project that would add 218 more units to the supply.

Speakers who have business interests downtown tended to favor the project, unless they were also downtown condo residents or would have to relocate their businesses from 708 Church St. if the tower is built.

One quarter of the speakers gave addresses in the 1st Ward, which includes much of downtown. Interest was also relatively high among residents of the 3rd, 4th and 6th Wards and relatively low in the 2nd, 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th wards.

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