Benson Avenue is one of the Evanston sites under construction this spring. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

There’s no surer sign of spring in the Chicago area than the launch of major public works projects.

Construction signs, equipment and pieces of pipe 30 inches in diameter line Benson Avenue and Emerson Street as the city tackles its 2022 Transmission Main Rehabilitation Project, which will replace and repair an 8,200-foot long pipeline beneath parts of Benson Avenue, Sherman Avenue and Colfax Street.

“You do this once in 100 years,” said Sat Nagar, the City of Evanston’s Senior Project Manager. And it’s not the only once-in-a-lifetime project underway in the city this spring.

Concept 1 for a skate park at Twiggs Park in Evanston (City of Evanston rendering) Credit: Rendering provided by City of Evanston

After starting from scratch nearly a year ago, a city team is moving closer to a final design for a state-of-the-art skate park at Twiggs Park, which lies on the south side of the North Shore Channel between Green Bay Road and Bridge Street.

At a public meeting held via Zoom on April 5, officials presented two skate park concepts based on comments they had received at their previous Feb. 22 meeting and conducted online voting on some still-undecided features.

COVID-19 by the numbers: 24 cases were reported Tuesday, April 5, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 14.4 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Oakton and PharmaCann leaders cut the ribbon on a new cannabis cultivation lab. (Photo provided)

Oakton Community College opens cannabis cultivation lab. Designed to educate students about the growth process of the marijuana plant and the production of different cannabis products, school officials say the lab is the first fully equipped cannabis cultivation facility on a college campus in the state of Illinois. 

At This Time: Wednesday at 4:27 p.m. The team at the Ebony Barber shop. The shop was started in the late 1950s by Marshall Giles, who moved Ebony to 1702 Dodge Ave. in 1962. His daughter, Brigitte Giles, took over in 2009. “It’s wonderful,” she said. “I have my moods, but I’m not going anywhere. And when I do, they will be just fine.” Pictured are (from left, back row) Derel Bolton, James Collins, Greg Jackson, Brigitte Giles, Montez Cannida and Andre Stinnett – with Tuan Walker in the chair. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Mark Jones, the fourth-generation owner of Saville Flowers, 1714 Sherman Ave. (Photo provided)

After 80 years, Saville Flowers is still growing. “It has always been a big part of my life,” said Mark Jones, fourth-generation owner of the shop. Jones took over after his mother, Gail Jones, and aunt, Booie Burton, retired in 2016.

Picturing Evanston. Nature finds a way, pushing through the cast-iron grid surrounding the trees on Central Street. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

ETHS softball: Late rally lifts young Warriors over Wildkits. The Maine West Warriors had the upper hand in the first head-to-head matchup between the two rebuilding programs Tuesday in Des Plaines, rallying late with unearned runs in the sixth and seventh innings to keep the Wildkits winless on the year.

Don’t toss it, fix it at the Evanston Repair Cafe. Co-hosted by the Evanston Public Library and Citizens’ Greener Evanston,  the Evanston Repair Cafe is a free meeting space where people fix things together. Participants can bring broken items in to the Robert Crown Branch Library, 1801 Main St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 9, to see if they can be repaired instead of being tossed out.

Les Jacobson: Earth Day all the time. With Earth Day coming up on April 22 and an array of events scheduled in Evanston, our columnist makes the case for the importance of environmental consciousness every day, not just Earth Day.

The McGaw YMCA. (Photo by Evan Girard)

McGaw Y announces three-year strategic plan. The goals of the plan include increased investments in school readiness for youth, promoting mental and physical wellbeing, addressing food insecurity, advocating for bridge housing and a focus on providing more responsive services.

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Around the web

Democrats compete for best tax-relief plan with 2 days left. Illinois is in the rare position of having a surplus in its bank account, which has meant Democrats who control the legislature are competing in an election-year contest over who can give the most back to taxpayers.

Pritzker signs bill creating paid COVID sick leave for all vaccinated school employees. The law ensures paid leave for fully vaccinated Illinois public school staff members who miss work due to COVID-19, and it restores COVID-related sick days for employees who used them already this school year.

Ald. Raymond Lopez says he’ll run for Chicago mayor. Lopez, who represents the 15th Ward on the city’s Southwest Side, is one of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s most outspoken opponents and plans to campaign on a public safety, tough-on-crime platform.

CTA operator pushed onto Red Line tracks highlights increasing violence against transit workers, advocacy group says. After a CTA worker was pushed onto the Red Line tracks at the Granville station in Edgewater this week, a group of bus drivers and train operators is demanding better protection from attacks.

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Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...