Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, told constituents at a ward meeting
Thursday she’s opposed to both Fountain Square tower proposals.

“I can tell you right now, I’m not going to vote for either of them,” Ald.
Wynne said. “I think they are inappropriate.”

“As much as I like the idea of redeveloping Fountain Square, which is sorely
in need of renovation and rethinking, I don’t think it is worth changing our
skyline,” she added, “I don’t think we need buildings any taller than 24 or 25
stories downtown.”

“Fundamentally I think it will change the look of downtown,” Ald. Wynne said,
“and I disagree with people who say that you won’t see the additional height
from the ground. I don’t think the additional tax revenue is significant enough
to say we have to do it.”

She urged residents to contact other aldermen to voice their opposition to
the plans, and she encouraged them to join the Southeast Evanston Association
and other community groups that she said are organizing to fight it.

None of the 60 to 70 people in the audience voiced any support for the tower
projects, but some had pointed questions for the aldermen when the subject
turned to what the City Council plans to do about the Civic Center.

Several questioned the wisdom of building a new Civic Center, arguing
renovation would be cheaper, and said the city wasn’t making enough information
about the plans available to the public.

Ald. Wynne said the council recognizes that its information on the cost of
different options for the Civic Center is out of date and said the city is
hiring a consulting firm to produce new cost estimates.

But she rejected the proposal from the Friends of the Civic Center to
gradually renovate the existing buiding as funds become available.

“There are people who want to stay in the building and renovate it
gradually,” Ald. Wynne said, “But I don’t think that’s efficient or a good idea.
We need to come up with a solution now that will work for the future.”

She said she favors moving city hall to a location downtown, but conceded
that all downtown sites considered so far have proven to be unworkable.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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