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On Monday evening, May 11, Mayor Lorraine H. Morton presided over her last meeting of the Evanston City Council after 16 years as Mayor and, prior to her tenure as Mayor, nine years as Fifth Ward Alderman. City staff and elected officials took the opportunity to shower former Mayor Morton with awards, honors and even a serenade.
Outgoing 6th Ward Alderman Edmund B. Morton, Jr. introduced a Council Resolution renaming the Civic Center the “Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center.”
Mayor Morton, visibly touched by the honor, had to be reminded by outgoing Fourth Ward Alderman Steven J. Bernstein that, “We’ve got to vote on it, Mayor.”
“I can’t tell you how grateful I am to this Council,” said Mayor Morton. She thanked the City Staff for all their help during the past 16 years, and the Council for not just their hard work, but also their “camaraderie.”
The resolution passed unanimously, and the Civic Center now has a new name. Expect signs reflecting the change shortly.
The appreciation did not end there. “Mayor Morton, we are not done with you yet,” announced outgoing Seventh Ward Alderman and soon-to-be-Mayor Elizabeth B. Tisdahl.
Recognizing Mayor Morton’s commitment to public art, the Council and City employees presented her with a digital print of a watercolor depicting the Paris Opera House by Evanston artist Elizabeth Ockwell.
The print, said Ms. Tisdahl, “reflects the Mayor’s love of the arts as well as her elegance.” Soon thereafter, Council passed a resolution expressing appreciation for Mayor Morton’s years of service.
And just when the meeting appeared to be nearing conclusion, Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, raised a point of order as a group of teens carrying musical instruments filtered into the back of the room.
Saying “every hero needs a theme song,” Ms. Rainey introduced the Nat King Cole jazz standard “Sweet Lorraine,” performed by members of the Evanston Township High School Jazz Band.Mayor Morton has now officially retired, but her presence will be felt in Evanston for years to come.
Elected officials and City staff showed their appreciation last night. At one point, a clearly overwhelmed Mayor Morton summed up the night: “I don’t know what else to thank you for, but whatever it is, thank you.”