At a Fifth Ward meeting in the near future, residents will be able to give their input on one of the first of the NSP2 projects in Evanston – the rehab of vacant and foreclosed properties in an effort to restore balance to neighborhoods destabilized in the recent foreclosure crisis. The concept design for a planned development at 1915-1919 Grey Ave., together with initial elevations, was presented at a pre-application conference on Nov. 3 before the City’s Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee (SPARC). As conceived, the planned development would contain six units – two in the existing building at 1919 Grey Ave., after rehab, and four in a new structure that would have a two-family unit on each side of a shared entry.

Earlier this year the City received $18.1 million in federal funds under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP2), targeted for two specific Evanston census tracts, one in the Fifth Ward and one in the Eighth Ward.

The money is to be used to purchase and rehab 100 vacant and foreclosed properties, then return them to the market as affordable units, for rental or resale.

 The City selected Brinshore as its private partner to rehab the NSP2 properties. The Grey Avenue project – designed by local architectural firm Nate Kipnis and Associates – will be among the first.

Dennis Marino, assistant director of community and economic development, told the RoundTable, “This project is an excellent way to hit at both targets of NSP2 – rehabbing a building and stabilizing a neighborhood.”

He also said that although the NSP2 grant “places an emphasis on rehab, infill and new construction also help revitalize a neighborhood.”

Fifth Ward Alderman Delores Holmes told the RoundTable she thought it was a “great project. I’m excited about it. [The next thing] is to get the neighbors’ input.”

At the Nov. 3 meeting, Mr. Marino said that, although no votes are taken at a preliminary SPARC conference, “I sense the committee’s enthusiasm for what has been seen.” Walter Hallen, SPARC chair, agreed.

The City’s Plan Commission will hold a hearing on the proposal later this year or early next year.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...