Return of the Hewn parklet.RoundTable photo

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… that the south standpipe is finally getting its new coat of paint. Robert Lounsberry took this photo of workers putting finishing touches on the water tower on Hartrey in south Evanston.  

… that City Council approved, by an 8-1 vote, going ahead with the Emerson/Ridge/Green Bay intersection construction work, even though the bids for the project came in about $2.8 million more than anticipated. Council approved awarding A. Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc. a contract to do the work for about $11.2 million. IDOT has agreed to pay about $3.8 million toward the project and the City had approved putting in $4.5 million. By approving the contract, Council has taken on the responsibility to raise the additional $2.8 million by obtaining a grant, by issuing bonds, or through some other means. Staff estimates that the additional money will not be needed until 2017, so there is time to work out the funding.

… that the City will retain Gewalt-Hamilton Associates Inc. to provide engineering services to improve nine of the City’s parking lots, at a cost of about $144,000. Three of these – James Park West, the police/fire headquarters lot on the headquarters grounds, lot #32 at 825 Hinman Ave. Work on the other six lots is planned for 2017.

… that 1,600 feet of new water mains and 1,700 feet of cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) water main renewal will be done by Glenbrook Excavating & Concrete, Inc. for about $1.6 million. Hastings and Dewey are each scheduled for open-cut construction of water main and full street resurfacing.  South Boulevard is scheduled for trenchless CIPP renewal and area street patching.       

… that Kovilic Construction Company Inc. will dredge the Church Street boat ramp area at a cost of about $20,000. Staff found that the average depth of water was approximately three feet in some areas, and that’s two feet short of the five-foot standard depth for good access. These findings were a surprise because of the higher lake levels this year. The City projects revenue from boat permits at the Church Street boat ramp to be $37,900.

… that Red Robin Burger Works, 1700 Maple Ave., has received a permit for a sidewalk café.  

… that Council approved using $1.4 million from the Motor Fuel Tax Funds to resurface four streets. The work consists of curb and sidewalk ramp replacement as needed, grinding/milling of the existing street surface, base repairs, adjustment of drainage/utility structures, asphalt street resurfacing and related incidental construction. The street segments are 1) Brown from Cleveland to Washington, 2) Chicago from Dempster to Grove, 3) Crain from Florence to Asbury, and 4) Ewing from Colfax to Harrison.

…… that 13 vacant buildings located at 705 and 2027 Brown Ave., 1729, 1739, 1828 and 2020 Dodge Ave., 1319 and 1615 McDaniel Ave., 1333 Dewey Ave., 1006 Florence Ave., 2017 Foster St., 2020 Green Bay Road, and 2224 Washington St., are scheduled to be demolished under a Blight Reduction Program, with up to $455,000 in funding from Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). The plan is to transfer title to the properties to Community Partners for Affordable Housing and that the lots be used to develop affordable housing.  

… that Council authorized the City Manager to negotiate a right-of-way agreement with Sigecom, LLC for the construction of a dark fiber communications network in the public right-of-way, which will be leased to Verizon and provide enhanced speed and reliability to Verizon’s wireless network. The work includes the installation of approximately 77,000 feet of new underground and aerial fiber-optic cable. The majority of the construction will be completed via directional boring in the parkway. The contractor is required to send out flyers informing residents of the construction activities, project duration in affected areas, and the contractor’s contact information.   

… that Shure Drive/Brummel Place was renamed Autobarn Place as a private street. TG assumes that means Autobarn will have to do its own snowplowing and refuse disposal.

… that the parklet that takes up one parking space in front of Hewn Bakery on Dempster is open again for the season. The parklet has flowers and benches – a place to eat bakery goods and relax. In winter, the space is a 20-minute one. Hewn Bakery raises money to pay the City to, in essence, rent the space.

… that March was the 10th- warmest March on record for Illinois, with an average temperature of 46.5 degrees, 5.2 degrees above normal. March is the latest in a string of above-normal months in Illinois going all the way back to September 2015. In fact, the September-March 2016 average temperature of 45.6 degrees is 3.9 degrees above normal and the third-warmest September-March combo on record since 1895. This warmth for the past several months is due to the moderating influence of El Niño on winters in Illinois, as well as our trend towards milder winters in recent decades. The winter of 2013-14 was the exception to the rule.

… that the City’s Public Works Agency offers residents the free removal of up to six cubic yards of bulk garbage twice per year. The Spring 2016 bulk trash pick-ups will take place on Fridays, April 22 through May 13, and are scheduled according to residents’ normal refuse pick-up day. The items must be placed on the alley line or in the parkway, whichever is the resident’s regular refuse collection area, in an orderly fashion (bagged, contained or bundled – no loose garbage.) No construction materials, electronics, tires, appliances or hazardous materials (e.g., batteries, gas, oil, asbestos, medical wastes or paint) will be collected. No garbage carts will be emptied. Additional information is available at cityofevanston.org/bulktrash or by calling 311.

… that Nicor Gas will be installing new natural gas mains in the following areas starting on April 18: 1335 Asbury Ave; 800-1106 Dempster St.; 1226-1570 Elmwood Ave.; 900-1227 Greenwood St.; 900-1115 Grove St.; 1202-1323 Maple Ave.; 1239–1555 Oak Ave.; and 1202-1240 Sherman Ave. In May, Nicor Gas’ subcontractor, NPL, will install a new natural gas line that connects each property to the natural gas main. In June, Nicor Gas’ subcontractor, United Meters, will contact customers to schedule an appointment to move their natural gas meter outside and reconfigure the inside piping. But all that information does not explain the little yellow flags on lawns in northwest Evanston and elsewhere.

… that the peak period for the Lyrid meteor shower this year is April 22, and the shooting stars will last until about April 25. Unfortunately, this year the full moon almost exactly coincides with the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower. About 10 to 15 meteors per hour can be expected around the shower’s peak on a dark, moonless night, but at times there can be uncommon surges which can bring the rate to 100 per hour.  Lyrid meteors tend to be bright and often leave trails, so maybe a meteor or two might overcome the drenching light of the full moon in 2016.

… that the Harley Clarke mansion made the 2016 list of Most Endangered Historic Places because “public officials have stated demolition of the local landmark will be an option if a new use is not found, evoking widespread fear about the future of the stately mansion.”

… that community members are invited to attend an open house (6 p.m.)/meeting (7 p.m.) about plans for Fountain Square on April 28 in the Parasol Room of the Civic Center. Consultants Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Teska Associates and City staff will present the story of the visioning process, preliminary design options, and next steps. Community input is sought. More information is available by calling 311 or visiting cityofevanston.org/myfountainsquare.

… that the pre-season sale of beach tokens has begun. Residents can also get discounts on the Skokie pool and water park.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the RoundTable’s April Fool stories caught some residents off guard, either because they did not read the full story or pay attention to the April Fool jester – or because they believe that putting stop signs in alleys, trying to monetize parking meters (not spaces) and light poles and building an island in the lake are things that NU or the City might just try to do.

… that the community is just on the cusp of the local campaign season. Watch for residents edging toward City Council, the Mayoralty or one of the School Boards – and listen very closely.