Music from the jazz ensemble of the Evanston Township High School Jazz Band enticed people to the Evanston Public Library on May 12, and the chance to brainstorm about ideas for Evanston’s future lured them inside. Stations in the community meeting room and the teen Loft were staffed by Evanston150 volunteer facilitators, who chalked up each group’s ideas. Evanston150 is a private organization composed of business, civic, school and City leaders who would like to see Evanston celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2013 by creating a legacy for future generations. To that end, the group is hoping to collect 2,013 ideas – large and small, practical or not – from those who live and work in Evanston. These ideas will be seined, winnowed and sifted by a selection jury, and next fall, residents will be able to cast votes to determine the top ideas to be implemented by the community.

Sharon Hyson, who participated in one of the groups, said the brainstorming and the energy “remind me of [planning for] FirstNight Evanston [a now-defunct New Year’s Eve celebration]. It’s really about accessing your dreams.”

Felicia Kaplan said, “We can probably further develop what we already have here.” Saying she does not live in Evanston but spends a lot of time here, she suggested Evanstonians be “more open to people who don’t live here” and create “Insiders’ Tips” about Evanston.

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...