A young woman found dead less than a block from the high school prompted a reference from Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, to the City’s legal department to come up with tools to address notorious problem rental properties.
The woman’s death has not yet been explained, but given the fact that, according to Ald. Braithwaite, everyone knows the location at which she was found to be a “drug house,” drugs are suspected.
Ald. Braithwaite, speaking at the Nov. 2 Human Services Committee meeting, said there is “a lot of concern [among residents] that the young lady was in the house” on Dodge Avenue shortly before her death. High school kids among others know the location to be “a known drug house,” he added.
“There needs to be a wider discussion within the community [about] problem properties around the high school.”
The house is just north of the intersection of Church Street and Dodge Avenue. Evanston Township High School sits on the southwest corner of that intersection.
When walking by the location after a recent shooting in the neighborhood, Ald. Braithwaite said he found it “disturbing just the number of adults hanging out in the middle of the day. …”
Commander Diane Davis of the Evanston Police Department said, “This address has come before us before.” She said the police would release additional information about the death of the 31-year old woman shortly, but as yet toxicology screenings have not come back.
Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, said, “There needs to be a wider discussion within the community [about] problem properties around the high school.” He called for a future meeting at some point. Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, who accompanied Ald. Braithwaite on his referenced walk past the property, also called for targeted drug enforcement.
“We cannot single out a particular property in a public meeting,” said City attorney Michelle Masoncup. She “strongly discouraged” committee members from mentioning particular addresses.
“There are teenagers who are very aware of where the drug houses are around the high school,” said Ald. Braithwaite. He called for open and frank discussions “specifically about drug enforcement around the high school.”
Ms. Masoncup said the City’s legal department was currently at work on revisions to the City’s property codes, specifically concerning public nuisance homes. She did not provide details of the revisions.
Meanwhile, the community continues to mourn the loss of another young Evanston resident, and awaits a complete report from the City police department.