Editor’s note: The RoundTable has more Evanston City Council Jan. 9 coverage on city seeking to renegotiate the District 65 MOU, slow down District 65 campus decisions, the Artists Book Home agreement and the withdrawal of the bag tax.

The city and District 65’s Fifth Ward School/Community Center survey was intended to gather opinions from city residents on the new campus proposed for the Fifth Ward school.

Residents were asked to give their opinions on four different architectural drawings of different layouts of the campus, which includes the new Fifth Ward school owned by District 65, the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center owned by the city and the Family Focus center, owned by the nonprofit.

Other options to consider were parking, green space, retaining Foster Field or buying additional property down the street to build a new community center.

Survey process

This survey was shared with the public after the four concepts were presented to the community on Dec. 6, 2022. The survey closed after nine days on Dec. 15, 2022, according to the city’s Jan. 9 memo.

The survey was based on self-selection, residents chose whether to take the survey or not and it was available only online. There was no random sampling taken to assure more scientific results of either a citywide opinion or a specific Fifth Ward opinion.

The city posted the survey to its website, shared the survey in press releases via email, eNewsletters and on social media, said City Communications Manager Patrick Deignan. District 65 also shared the survey through its own outreach efforts, Deignan said.

Despite this effort, this survey collected responses from 342 of the 78,110 residents in Evanston. Only 4.28% of residents from the Fifth Ward, where the project will take place, participated in the survey. 

The survey shows that 33.6% of 342 residents surveyed, the largest percentage, preferred Concept 1. This option significantly reduces Foster Field and keeps the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center building as is. 

Concepts 2 and 4 followed closely behind.

  • Concept 2 rebuilds Fleetwood-Jourdain and keeps Foster Field a similar size.
  • Concept 4 would build a new Fleetwood-Jourdain a block away from the new school and maintain the size of Foster Field.
  • Concept 3 rebuilds Fleetwood-Jourdain and maintains 70% of Foster Field.

The survey also asks for participant’s second choice. Concept 3 was most favored at 37.4%.

The majority of surveyed residents, 53.8%, supported having a swimming pool at the new community center.

The survey also asked if residents preferred buildings being closer to Simpson Street or Foster Street. The majority of respondents, 60.2%, said they had no preference.

A playground and a basketball court were the respondents’ most prioritized amenities. 

The city’s Jan. 9 memo to City Council regarding this survey breaks down responses from the following three demographics: 

  • 88 identifying as 5th Ward Residents 
  • 77 identifying as Black/Caribbean 
  • 28 identifying as Latinx/Hispanic

These three groups represent 193 out of the 342 people surveyed. 

Only 88 of the estimated 7,794 Fifth Ward residents responded to the survey. Of the 88 residents, 31 identified as Black or Caribbean and six identified as Latinx/Hispanic.

Concept 4 had the largest percentage 37.5% support from the Fifth Ward residents surveyed. This group’s preferred second choice is Concept 3 at 38.6%. 

The 77 Black/ Caribbean survey respondents selected Concept 1 as their choice at 32.5%. Their preferred second choice was Concept 3, which received 36.4% of their vote. 

For the 28 Latinx/ Hispanic respondents, their first choice is Concept 2, which has 39.3%. This group’s second choice is Concept 3, which had 39.3%. 

Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the Evanston RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative...

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