Evanston will be 150 years old on Dec. 29, 2013, and a group of civic and business leaders are reaching into the community to help plan a unique anniversary – starting now.
This will be a celebration not just of Evanston history but of Evanston vision, innovation and creativity. We are invited to envision the future – of our own lifestyles and amenities, of our tax base, and, perhaps most importantly, of our children. How do we hope Evanston will look in the next five, 10 and 20 years?
Will we be a green city, with residents using bicycles, light-rail and hybrid or electric vehicles for transportation? What sources of power will keep us operating – the offshore wind farm, geo-thermal drillings, solar power or something not yet on our horizons?
Economically, what businesses do we hope to retain or attract? Will we be a beacon on the silicon prairie?
What role will the arts play in this future Evanston?
What should our schools look like? Should each child have a computer? What educational and social values should we, as a community, emphasize? What should our graduates know?
Recreation also presents possibilities. Will we continue to have several community centers? An ice rink? Miniature golf? A bowling alley? A water slide? Or will we have one virtual recreation center and play “sports” and Wii games from home computers?
Should the lakefront be developed or remain open for passive entertainment? If we need to increase our “entertainment value,” where should that be done?
What might we think, as a community about library services? This is the time to think about branches, outreach and e-books.
And it is again time to think about how to bridge the digital divide. In two years, might all homes have Internet access?
Evanston 150 is looking for ideas large and small, developed or incubating. These can be individual or collective ideas: For example, walking groups, block clubs and book groups are ready-made for collaborative thinking.
This is going to be fun.