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School is out and summer approaches full swing. The work of the Evanston City Council does not take a break, but it does slow down. The City cancelled its June 16 meeting for lack of sufficient agenda items, and only seven aldermen were present for the June 9 meeting.
The absences were not summer vacation related, though. Alderman Jan Grover, 7th Ward, missed the meeting to attend the Evanston Township High School baseball playoffs – her son is on the team.
Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, missed the meeting because of the death of his father. Sincerest condolences to Ald. Tendam.
Meanwhile, the City’s business included the expected $150,000 plus water-main repair project. This one came with a twist, however. For 25 years, the City has been using a “cured in place” sewer lining process to rehabilitate aged sewer pipes. The process allows an existing pipe to be lined and cured rather than replaced, meaning a project like the one at Washington Street, between Dodge and Dewey avenues, requires “only three small excavations as opposed to a 10-foot wide trench for the entire length of the block,” according to Utilities Manager Dave Stoneback’s memo to Council.
“It costs about 40% less than the cost to replace,” said Mr. Stoneback. That represents a savings of about $96,000 on this project. “If this works, we will use this in the future for water mains where we are not changing pipe size,” he added. A similar process has been used here for several years in sewer-line replacements.
Cured-in-place for water pipes is relatively new – it has been around for about 10 years, said Mr. Stoneback’s memo. In Illinois, it’s even newer, but it has been used in Glen Ellyn, Oak Park, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect.
Council next approved a Main Street transit study extension. The project studies options for connecting the Main Street Metra and CTA stations and otherwise improving the transit hub. The City has little to do here, as the RTA and CTA will be taking the lead for any real station improvements. Lori Pearson of the City’s Planning Department said the City could tackle some “low hanging fruit” mentioned in the study, such as adding bike racks. Otherwise, the City will wait for the big dogs to act, hoping that the study, when completed, will inform their decisions.
A controversial variance application for the property at 910 Hinman Ave. was pulled from the agenda by the applicant, likely saving Council members hours of debate. The variance sought 62% lot coverage where 45% is the maximum, and 78% impervious surface coverage where 60% is the maximum.
A number of residents addressed Council to complain about the drop-off of soccer players at the relatively new Team Evanston facility on Dempster Street. Team Evanston allegedly encourages parents to drop off kids on Greenwood Street, which has at times created short-term traffic disasters on that street affecting neighbors who live in loft space near the facility. Alderman Peter Braithwaite, whose Second Ward includes the Team Evanston facility and who championed the project, said he would arrange a meeting with the owners to correct the problem.
Homestead Meats arrived on Chicago Avenue just north of Dempster Street. The specialty butcher shop opened this week and received façade improvement money.