With a $7.4 million deficit on their minds, aldermen at the Oct. 8 City Council meeting sailed through several agenda items without significant disagreement, questioning more for wanting clarification, it seemed, than for edging toward disapproval.
At the Oct. 8 City Council meeting, Mayor Stephen Hagerty announced that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Mayor also recognized Meals at Home for its 50 years of providing hot meals to the frail and the vulnerable residents of this and other communities. He proclaimed Oct. 8, 2018, as Meals at Home Day in Evanston.
Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Director Lawrence Hemingway brought members of the City’s two troupes of Theatre on Ice, the Preliminary Team and the Intermediate Team.
At the Theater on Ice Nationals, held this summer in Geneva, Ill., the Preliminary Team earned fourth place. The team’s long program, “Ghostbusters,” helped boost them to the pewter medal. Competing against 16 teams at the Nationals, the Intermediate Team performed its powerful “Urban Legends” program that helped seal the national championship for them.
“I can only think of how these teams will be at the new Robert Crown Center and ice,” Mayor Hagerty said.
Homes and Buildings
Alderman approved vacation rental licenses for properties at 1614 Main St., Unit A and for 1033 Cleveland St. The owner of the Main Street property lives out of the country, the property manager said. On her occasional visits to Evanston, she does live in the unit. The Cleveland Street property is owner-occupied.
The property at 348 Custer Ave. experienced a bit of a snag at the Zoning Board of Appeals. The property owner sought zoning variations to add a third apartment, and the Zoning Board said that the new unit would have to be affordable. There is, at present, no ordinance in the City Code mandating that an additional apartment in a two-apartment building be affordable. Perhaps to make up for the time spent before the Zoning Board, Fifth Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons moved to suspend the rules so that aldermen could vote immediately on the issue, but she abstained from voting on the main motion.
The future of the Weissbourd-Holmes Family Focus building at 2010 Dewey Ave. has aroused neighborhood concern. Family Focus, which owns the building, is looking to sell it for economic reasons and relocate its services elsewhere in Evanston.
A group of Evanston residents that would like the building to remain as a quasi-community center – it served as a District 65 School for decades until 1974 – is seeking landmark status for the building and is also hoping to raise money to purchase it.
Aldermen approved the ordinance for introduction – meaning they would discuss and vote on it at a subsequent meeting. Again, a motion was made to suspend the rules so aldermen could vote that evening. The lawyer representing Family Focus was present at the meeting. She said she did not have authority to approve a measure to allow a vote that night, so this item will be discussed in a subsequent meeting.
Two measures to promote the well-being of Evanston youth passed easily. The Youth Job Center of Evanston will receive $55,000 to continue its program Building Career Pathways to Sustainable Employment. Under this program, YJC staff will provide a career-pathway plan to up to 20 “disconnected and unemployed” young adults with low to moderate income. The plan should lead to education/work trade certification, employment, supportive services, career counseling, education support and transportation assistance for up to two years.
The Moran Center for Youth Advocacy will provide legal services to about 15 Evanston residents to secure expungement, criminal-records sealing and Certificates of Rehabilitation. The 2017 State law that allows automatic expungement of records of juveniles does not extend to young adults, said Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Executive Director of the Moran Center. “Adults continue to have complex issues,” he said. The $30,000 funding will cover the cost of expunging records for about 15 residents.