A Good Week
Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl opened the June 25 City Council meeting by exclaiming that Evanston had had a good week: The City had received grants for a health center and for revamping the lagoon at Dawes Park, and the CTA had installed the final two of three viaducts along the Purple Line.
Paul D’Agostino, director of Parks, Forestry and Facilities, presented a plaque to Mayor Tisdahl, commemorating Evanston’s being named a Tree City U.S.A. for the 29th year. For the 13th year, he said, Evanston has also received a Tree City U.S.A. Growth Award, based on its stewardship of public trees. Among this year’s efforts that were recognized were the City’s approval of a tree preservation ordinance and its continuation of the elm-tree inoculations against Dutch elm disease.
Joan Ducayet, president of the Evanston Fourth of July Association, said this year’s celebration would be the kind “Evanston comes to expect.” The not-for-profit group sponsors the entire day of festivities each July 4. This year, she said, Peter Sagal of National Public Radio will be at the parade, shooting video clips as part of a film he is making “to explore the nature of the Constitution. … So when the little smiling faces appear on PBS, they will be little Evanston smiling faces.” After the parade, Ms. Ducayet said, Mr. Sagal will take off on his “We the People” Harley Davidson road trip.
Getting and Spending
City Council approved the issuance of $16.22 million in general obligation (GO) bonds, tentatively scheduled to be sold on July 10. Of that amount, $10.3 million is unabated and $5.9 million abated. Proceeds from the bond sales will go into the Capital Improvement Fund ($4.3 million), the Sewer Fund ($4 million) and the Water Fund ($4.4 million). The bond issue will also allow the City to refinance $3.52 million in 2002 bonds.
Aldermen also approved a liquor license for Terra, a new restaurant at 2676 Green Bay Road.
In what 8th Ward Alderman Ann Rainey termed a “housekeeping” matter, she and her colleagues approved an ordinance that would allow hotel-motel tax revenues to be funneled into the City’s Economic Development Fund, rather than into the General Fund. Those revenues have been placed in the Economic Development Fund for some time, City officials said in proposing the ordinance, so this measure reflects the current practice.
The City will sell a vacant lot it owns at 1131 Sherman Ave. to Mark Hammergren.
On the flip side, the City will purchase the vacant lot at 1801-05 Church St. for an as-yet-unspecified purpose. Council gave the go-ahead at the June 25 meeting, authorizing the purchase from E-Town Community Ventures LLC for about $127,000.
Other tax dollars – 120,000 of them – will go for emergency repairs to the northeast chimney of the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.
Payment for monthly City bills was approved, as was a one-year contract extension with Third Millennium Associates for bill printing and mail services.
Finally, an expenditure of $75,000 was approved for the public art piece “Search & Effect,” to be installed on the Sherman Avenue garage. Alderman Judy Fiske, in whose 1st Ward the garage lies, said she thought the sculpture at the corner of Sherman Avenue and Davis Street, “Sea of the Ear-Ring,” is “already a significant piece. … I have come to realize that [“Search & Effect”] is not the artist’s best work. … What’s being [offered] is not … the kind of beautiful work we are looking for. It will be seen by few and not at all hours of the day.”
Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, said he felt the opposite way, saying it was “extraordinarily beautifully designed” and accomplishes some things that other public art cannot. “I can’t wait to see it installed,” he said.
At the Call of the Wards, the last public segment of a City Council meeting, Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, brought up the rat problem in Evanston. “In Evanston, if you have a rat problem and you live in a single-family home, the City of Evanston will come and bait your neighborhood [for rats]. If you live in a condo, you are responsible for your own rodents.”
Fourth Ward Alderman Donald Wilson added, “People should do what they can to prevent rats,” such as bagging their trash and taking care with composting. “Spend a little time thinking about what you’re doing for rats. They are not teeming [in Evanston] but they’re happy – and they’re making more rats.”
A Good Week