At the Sept. 24 meeting of the Economic Development Committee, members unanimously approved $132,000 in funds for Evmark, the downtown marketing association. A special taxing district in downtown Evanston allows the City to collect additional taxes from the property owners there, and the EDC allocates some of these funds to Evmark.

Carolyn Dellutri, the new executive director of Evmark, said that, although Evmark’s budget for 2009-10 shows a 1 percent increase over the current year, the request was $6,000 less than the maximum allowed.

Ms. Dellutri said last summer’s Thursday night dances were “very successful,” and she described some new aspects of its marketing program, to “bring people downtown as a destination.” For example, Evmark would like to have Metra indicate that its “Main, Davis and Central Street stops are in Evanston.” She said Evmark is also planning a “bike-shopping” event. To make that successful, she said, retailers will have to be “educated about” certain aspects of service – such as shipping or delivering a customers’ purchases.

Ms. Dellutri added, “EvMark is going green with holiday decorations. … In previous years, holiday lights were discarded after one use. This year, some decorations will use LED reusable lights and LED use will increase annually until all holiday lights will be LED.”

She also said Evmark is expanding its communications to include Chicago media outlets.

Maintenance landscaping in downtown Evanston sparked discussion. Ms. Dellutri said Evmark received only two responses to a request for bids for maintenance in the downtown area. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the City has names of several contractors who have responded to the City’s requests for proposals.

Farmer’s Best Market Agreement

The committee members also unanimously the redevelopment agreement containing a sales-tax-sharing agreement between the City and Farmer’s Best Market, which they had previously approved.

Under the agreement for the property, Farmer’s Best will remain for 12 years at Oakton Street and Asbury Avenue; in return, the City will split its share of the sales-tax revenue generated by Farmer’s Best – up to $500,000 – with the owners. The store plans to open by Christmas.

Both funding recommendations must be approved by City Council.