The Evanston Land Use Commission voted 6-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to recommend that city officials raze the existing one-story animal shelter at 2222-2310 Oakton St. and build a new one-story shelter with approximately 8,810 square feet of ground floor area.

The current Evanston Animal Shelter at 2310 Oakton St.

The proposal next goes to the full City Council. 

Shane Cary, an architect with the city’s public works department, represented the project for the deliberations.

The site, located at the northwest corner of James Park, was developed as a dog pound in the 1980s but ultimately came to shelter both dogs and cats. It is currently operated by the Evanston Animal Shelter Association. 

The shelter has four employees and prior to the pandemic had about 175 volunteers. The site shelters about 300 dogs and 275 cats per year. It welcomes about two dozen public visitors weekly.

The current animal shelter is not up to code with many safety specifications, hence the city’s interest in replacing it. The site is made up of two lots, the other being the city’s Recycling Center. No changes are planned for that lot. 

The new animal shelter site would combine the driveways for the shelter and the Recycling Center, thus allowing for fewer curb-cuts along Oakton Street. A stoplight would be located at the driveway.

“It’s generally a very cluttered site,” Cary said of the location, noting that it would require a great deal of environmental remediation. Poor soil and nuisance trees are among the matters site developers must attend to.

Commissioners were largely encouraging about the proposal. 

Commission Chair Matt Rodgers said the old shelter was “several decades old and no longer fits the purpose for which it was was created.”

Added Commissioner Jeanne Lindwall, “It’s long overdue.”

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  1. Let’s build it! It’s a great opportunity to upgrade this facility and provide a vital community service at the same time.

  2. Absolutely crazy to me that this town is considering a $6.0 million plus animal shelter-surely something could be built on a more modest scale. Lakefront homes with similar square footage are selling for this same amount. The city has received a $2.0 million grant to build the facility, and in theory, the Friends of the shelter raised $1.0 million. Is the city of Evanston telling us they cannot build a shelter for $3.0 million? How about a dog park and dog beach, which is something residents have clamored for? This seems like another pet (pun intended) project driven by a small group of staff and residents. Spend $3.0million and be mindful of our cities limited resources…full stop.

    1. Lakefront homes are Residential structures, not Commercial buildings and they legitimately differ in design, construction, materials, permits, and correspondingly costs.
      The Land Use Commission listened to the proposal, questioned the proposal, and determined step-by-step the compliance of all codes and zoning and variances. They are knowledgeable, professional, and meticulous and anyone paying attention would agree. What makes you question their expertise?

      These sorts of comments are absolutely crazy to me. The few but loud public commenters are convinced of an underhanded scheme by money-hungry City of Evanston staff to bankrupt their employer. To what end?