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  1. It would be great if the Roundtable would provide a more balanced picture of the finances related to the Crown Center. In reality, a great deal of the funds the “Friends,” include as donations-were in fact upfront payments for ice time. Northwestern has specifically made clear that their $1.0MM was for ice time. Further, Mr. Stein does not address the fact that the deficits related to running the Center are nearly quadruple those proposed during the construction at $2.0MM per annum. He also fails to mention that the bonds are going to be amortized over decades…so they fact that they have made $3.8MM in payments is a drop in the bucket. Debt service for Crown will be $3.0MM per year for 20 plus years. This is on top of the $2.0MM annual projected operating deficit. The Evanston tax payer will be paying for this “monster” (as the city itself refers to it) for decades to come-well after the Friends funds are exhausted.

    And yes…maybe some people really like the center, but they also might have liked a public pool that could have been built for a fraction of the cost and served a much broader part of the Evanston population. Instead, the vast majority of the construction costs pandered to an elite section of the Evanston hockey community. Further, two branch libraries were collateral damage-as the city pushed library bond proceeds to fund the bloated construction costs.

    So as the windows shatter and cracks in the foundation continue to appear-this will serve as a sad and expensive reminder of greed and self interest.

  2. During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been outspoken about various subjects covered by the RoundTable. Today, the award for the Crown Center sounds a little dubious to me. This facility’s construction resulted in cost overruns due to lack of oversight, predicating the infusion of funds from “Friends” and other sources to make up the deficit. Former 9th Ward Ald. Brian Miller (over 5 years ago) tried to direct attention to this as construction progressed, but to no avail. Before RT hardcopy ceased 2 years ago, many of my letters were printed, the last of which on Evanston’s suit falsely accusing Com Ed & Nicor for James Park contamination. The city lost, resulting in $8 million wasted. Because of this, I appeared before the Council in May, 2019, where I requested that the City Manager be terminated AND the Corporation Counsel be held responsible for both James Park & the Crown Center. I’ve been silent up until now, but present conditions call out to me. Ald. Fleming recommended me for the ADA Advisory Group, where the Levy Center will open a ADA Panel Presentation to the public on Thursday, from 4 to 7 pm. Back to the Crown Center, relative to ADA, one enters from the parking lot on the east side & is confronted by stairs up to the 2nd floor. But the elevator (only one) is on the west end, where there’s no entrance? And this venue is gets a unique award in this country? Will someone please explain this to me! Maybe the Skokie Library, decades old, with parking at both ends and 2 accessible elevators in the middle of the building, is worthy of such notice?