About three dozen Evanston residents and a third as many city staff and aldermen turned out Tuesday night for a workshop to review construction material alternatives for renovating the path through the Ladd Arboretum.
The session was called after about a dozen speakers objected at a City Council meeting last week to plans to replace the half-century old crushed stone path there with permeable concrete — which staff recommended as an alternative to the asphalt material approved for the project by aldermen last year.
An image, from a staff presentation, of a wheelchair user trying to navigate the existing path this winter.
City staff has argued that the crushed stone path can’t be plowed in winter and is prone to flooding in warmer months — making it unsuitable for users ranging from handicapped persons in wheelchairs and bicyclists to students walking to two nearby schools. Both asphalt and permeable concrete, the staff says, would meet those accessibility goals.
But neither students nor wheelchair users were present at the workshop — while a large contingent of arboretum activists who like the traditional look of crushed stone were there.
Images, from a staff presentation, of a crushed granite path through a wooded area …
Public Works Director Suzette Robinson said results of the voting at the workshop would be included in the packet for next Monday’s City Council meeting, which she said would be released on Thursday.
One alderman at the meeting suggested the “do nothing” option — just leave the path the way it is.
… of an asphalt path through a wooded area …
But that would require forgoing a grant of up to $580,000 of federal funds awarded through the state — which could cover 80 percent of the cost of an asphalt path, or as much as 55 percent of the more expensive permeable concrete or crushed granite options.
… and of a permeable concrete path through a grassy area bordering a woodland.
An extensive list of potential environmental impacts of the different pavement types included in a staff presentation suggested that on balance the different materials have relatively similar impacts.