A rendering of the new YWCA building under construction on Ridge Avenue in Evanston.

Despite continued complaints from some neighbors, Evanston’s Plan Commission voted Wednesday night to recommend approval of a proposed redevelopment of the YWCA property.

Mary McWilliams, 1606 Wesley Ave., said the design for the new domestic violence shelter building on Ridge Avenue north of Church Street reminded her of a prison with its narrow windows and that its “brilliant white walls with DayGlo orange accents” would “call unwanted attention to the building.”

Her neighbor, Joan Safford, 1618 Wesley Ave., said the angled roof of proposed new two-story entryway at the Church Street end of the property “looks like a scateboard ramp” that’s “leaping out at you.”

A rendering of the new entrance facing the corner of Church and Ridge.

Safford said she’s walked by the existing Victorian-era stucco house on the site every day for decades — a building that will be demolished as part of the redevelopment. She suggested the social service agency should create a new lobby area that’s more integrated with the 1970s brick buildings that it will be attached to.

Residents along Asbury Avenue, whose homes adjoin the YWCA property, focused more on other issues — like noise from early-morning garbage pickups and HVAC equipment and adding more landscape screening at the rear edge of the property.

The commission voted to recommend approval of the project to City Council, subject to conditions that the YWCA’s architects work with city staff to address aesthetic concerns, increase landscaping along the west side of the site and ban garbage pickups before 9 a.m.

Related stories

YWCA expansion faces another review (7/29/19)

YWCA seeks OK to demolish house for expansion (7/18/19)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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