Foster Field. (RoundTable file photo)

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

Spring season has begun and the Foster Field complex on the south side of Simpson Street between Dewey and Ashland Avenues is already in use for sports like baseball, soccer and ultimate Frisbee. While it is likely that youth sports can continue through the summer, this may be the last season for such Foster Field activities.

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 owns the property, but the city has leased it the last 15 years and then arranged with sports organizations to hold their camps and games on the field.

The lease is set to expire in May of this year but is renewable on an annual basis unless one party gives written notice of termination. Last week, District 65 did just that, notifying the city that the lease would not be renewed. The District plans to build a new school on the site and will begin some testing this summer.

Evanston officials are considering adding soccer pitches in the Church/Darrow area similar to this one. (Photo provided by Mettle Sports) Credit: Photo provided by Mettle Sports

Two city-owned properties, at 1805 Church St. and 1708-10 Darrow Ave., lie within the West Evanston tax increment financing district and are slated to be redeveloped several years down the road.

Instead of sitting unused until then, though, one City Council member proposes that officials consider placing two street-soccer pitches – compact-sized soccer fields – on the lots, creating a healthy outlet for neighborhood kids and perhaps nurturing an interest in the sport.

COVID-19 by the numbers: 44 new cases were reported Tuesday, April 12, the last day the city updated totals. The seven-day average is 25 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

The Skokie Alliance for Electoral Reform hosted an April 13 news conference to present its mission to change Skokie’s electoral system. (Screen capture of online news conference)

Group lobbies to make Skokie’s electoral system more like Evanston’s. A nonpartisan group of Skokie residents is pushing to alter Skokie’s electoral system in a way that makes it more like that of its neighbor Evanston, where the mayor and City Council members are chosen in nonpartisan elections and council members represent specific city wards.

At This Time: Wednesday at 8:17 a.m. Keith Kreuser picks up free beach passes for his family of four at the Robert Crown Community Center. The city has distributed about 2,300 passes since Monday. It’s the first time the tokens are free to all residents. They can also be picked up at the Evanston Ecology Center, Levy Senior Center, Chandler-Newberger Community Center and Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center with proof of residency. Jessica Hobson is at the desk. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

ETHS teams finish second at High School Chess Nationals. The Evanston Township High School Chess Team had its best national performance in years at last weekend’s National High School Championships in Memphis. ETHS’ 18-player team won two second-place team trophies – in the Under 1900 and Under 1600 sections, the second and third strongest of the tournament’s six divisions.

Fanny Lazzar serves customers at Fanny’s, 1601 Simpson St., in 1962. (Chicago Sun-Times archive photo courtesy Jim Craig)

Eye on Evanston: Thoughts on Design | Evanston’s cultural and commercial landmarks. All residents of Evanston have personal lists of landmarks, of places that are significant in their lives. Design Evanston’s Jack Weiss takes us on a tour of a few of the many places that may come to mind as part of our collective perception and the history of Evanston.

Peggy Tarr: In the month of April. Our columnist takes a look at some of the major events and holidays that fall in April, such as Passover, Easter, Earth Day and more.

Author Suzannah Q. Pratt, in co-working office space near Penny Park. (Photo by Ellen Galland)

Book review: The year of living frugally. The question of what stuff a family truly needs to live is the focus of a new book of essays by Evanston writer (and RoundTable contributor) Susannah Q. Pratt. The appealing book, More or Less: Essays from a Year of No Buying, takes the reader along on the Pratt family’s experiment during 2018.

Ukraine support drive accepting donations through end of April. The offices of state Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, state Senator Laura Fine and county Commissioner Scott Britton will be collecting donations for Ukraine throughout April, in partnership with RefugeeOne and the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America.

Found Kitchen is one of many downtown Evanston restaurants offering holiday specials this weekend. (Photo submitted)

Local businesses offer sweet deals for Easter and Passover. Check out this list of local restaurants and bakeries offering special dishes, discounts and gifts for the upcoming holiday weekend.

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Around the web

For Chicago workers, it’s back to the office – but not back to normal. As Chicago’s office occupancy rates lag behind the national average, companies are pushing people to get back to work in-person. But COVID-19 anxiety and skepticism over the value of an office have led to significant opposition.

COVID-19 cases are rising in Chicago. Will a mask mandate return? Philadelphia became the first American city to reinstate an indoor mask requirement this week, and cases rose by over 40% in Chicago compared with last week. Some doctors say they expect mask-wearing to occasionally return during seasons of high transmission.

Hammered by complaints, push for Chicago casino faces bumpy final stretch. When Chicago residents got a chance to question the three finalists for a casino in the city, many raised concerns about the potential for increased traffic and crime fueled by gambling, posing a potential barrier to final clearance for the development.

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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...