Photo by Evanston Photographic Studios

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Hundreds of residents sardined into the Levy Center on Saturday to enjoy Evanston food and Evanston entertainment and to think about the future of the community. It was the official kickoff of Evanston 150, a community-wide initiative that asks the residents of Evanston to imagine the future as part of a celebration of its (in 2013) 150-year history. Members of the steering committee say they hope that at least 2,013 ideas for the next Evanston will be generated by the July 31 deadline.

A jury of residents selected by the steering committee will winnow the myriad ideas and select 10 “visionary, bold” ideas. The hope is that these will be implemented or even completed by Dec. 29, 2013, the City’s 150th anniversary.

Anyone who lives or works in Evanston or Evanston/Skokie may submit ideas for making Evanston a better place to live. The website is

Television host Bill Campbell, who emceed the March 26 kickoff, said to the audience of several hundred, “Everybody talks about fear, but looking around here I see that this is what humanity is at its best.” He urged them, and all Evanstonians, to “submit your best ideas, your diverse ideas about what Evanston is.”

On March 22, the Evanston 150 Steering Committee hosted a breakfast meeting with more than 200 community leaders to help spread the word and invite the Evanston community to be a part of this “anniversary with a goal.”

Karen Mosby-Avery, Second Baptist Church, read from Alice Walker’s “The World Has Changed”:

“The World has changed

Wake up and smell the possibility …”

Sara Schastok, CEO of the Evanston Community Foundation, said, “Giving our community a new day is really what Evanston 150 is all about.”

Former Mayor Jay Lytle, managing director of First Bank and Trust of Evanston, said, “We need your bold ideas, your visionary ideas. … We’re entering on a journey, a long and exciting journey, ending on Dec. 29, 2013.”

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...