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Near the beginning of the Aug. 13 City Council meeting, Mayor Stephen Hagerty noted that these are the dog days of summer. Traditionally during the dog days, when Sirius shines bright in the night sky, people left ancient Rome to escape the heat. And while it may not be the case that many Evanstonians have left town, the night’s meetings escaped the heated discussions that marked many other meetings this summer.
City Council recognized several youth in the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment program, some for perfect attendance, and some for outstanding service. Porschia Davis, who manages the program, said 584 youth attended the job fair at Evanston Township High School in the spring. Some 40 employers – many of them City departments – hired more than 500 students.
Ms. Davis also commended the Evanston Township High School students in the Kingian Non-Violence program for creating a “Peace in the Schools” project for the coming academic year.
During the public comment, Barbara Janes spoke about Lincoln Street Beach. “The law is clear that the beach is ours,” she said. “I hope that you will do the right thing and stand up for the citizens of Evanston and declare that the beach is ours.” She also proposed that Lincoln Street Beach become the dog beach, since the Church Street site is nearly underwater and likely to remain so for quite some time. The dog beach generates revenue for the City, she said, even in its lean years. “In a year that we are being nickel-and-dimed, this is real money that you should take the opportunity to grab.”
Aldermen approved an ordinance stating the terms of the agreement for the City of Evanston to sell water to the Village of Lincolnwood. The agreement will be for 39 years with two 10-year extensions at the option of Lincolnwood. The City will have to construct an underground meter vault and a transmission main from the south standpipe at a cost of $1.8 million, to be financed by bonds issues through the water fund. The City expects to be able to deliver the water in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The City Manager will sign the Greenest Region Compact 2, a measure to help promote sustainability here. The compact is administered by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus of which Mayor Stephen Hagerty is a member. One hundred communities in the region adopted the compact, the goals of which guide municipal action, support mayors in their role as environmental leaders and foster collaboration that will have positive impacts on the region.
There is no cost for participating in the Greenest Region Compact, and the City says it will not negatively impact staff workflow.
Amid stories of struggling capital projects came the news that, with Council approval, the City settled a lawsuit with Chicagoland Paving Contractors, Inc., paying the company $265,000. The company sued the City over a contract dispute regarding the Davis Street Improvement Project and the Parking Lot Rehabilitation at Central Street and Steward Avenue Project. The payment is not an admission of guilt.
Aldermen also approved a vacation rental for 2130 Wesley Ave. The property is owned as a land trust maintained by Chicago Title Land Trust Company. One of the beneficiaries, Yvonne Feldman, lives in the home and will operate the vacation rental. City Health Director Evonda Thomas-Smith, who certifies the licenses for vacation rentals, said her staff found the property meets the standards and procedures required by the City’s vacation rental ordinance. City staff also evaluates applications for vacation rentals in terms of possible negative cumulative effect on a neighborhood when there are other vacation rentals in the immediate neighborhood. Since there are none nearby, City staff found there would be no negative cumulative effect or substantial adverse impact on thee use, enjoyment or property values of adjoining properties.
Following the recommendation of City staff, aldermen approved a re-subdivision of property located at 1239 Asbury Ave. and 1224 Dempster St., which includes Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, a parking lot for the synagogue, a single-family detached residence, a detached garage and a playground. The single-family residence, a local landmark, is vacant at present, and Beth Emet plans to sell the subdivided lot with the house.
Residents can expect changes to snow routes soon – at least, the City hopes, before the snow flies. Most of the changes deal with discrepancies between the map showing snow routes and signs posted – or not posted but needed – in those areas. The City will remove a portion of Railroad Avenue between Church and Davis Streets as a snow route, because the street itself no longer exists.
Particulars will come at a later City Council meeting.