7th Ward Meeting Recap

On March 8, Ald. Eleanor Revelle hosted a meeting for residents of the 7th Ward.

After a welcome to the Evanston Arts Center from Paula Danoff, President and CEO of the EAC, Revelle opened the program to introduce Sat Nagar of the City of Evanston, Project Manager for the reconstruction of the Central Street bridge.

Nagar provided an overview of the project with the assistance of Pual Schneider from the consulting engineerin firm, Stanley Consultants.

Highlights of the project include:

Planning and bidding and development of a final design will continue in 2017-18;

Construction will be in two stages in 2019 and 2020; the bridge will be open to two-way traffic at all times, with each half being built separately;

The entire bridge will be rebuilt with a new roadway, pillars for support and walkways;

Plans are being made to make improvements to the entire stretch of roadway and sidewalks from Girard to Bryant Avenue;

The new bridge will be wider to include new sidewalks, bike lanes and other safety features;

There will still be parking on the south side of the bridge when completed; and

The new bridge will be anchored in land as opposed to in the channel which will insure a longer lifespan.

Nagar reported that the bridge will remain open during construction due to the need for emergency vehicle access. A number of questions were raised about safety, fire trucks and ambulance traffic and how to accommodate them. Nagar and the consultants are still working out plans and are talking with all parties to get input and review health and safety features. Additional meetings will be scheduled with other organizations and residents throughout the planning process.

A larger community meeting will be held, likely in May, and a dedicated website is being created on the City site. This should be up in May as well.

Following the bridge presentation, made a presentation on the renovation of Welsh-Ryan Arena, including an overview of the project and the improvements to the facility and work to be done on the exterior as well. They reviewed the construction plan and effort to keep disruption to a minimum in the community. As most work is confined to the interior, there will be fewer trucks and less noise. Among the improvements are: new seats, ADA compliant facilities, upgraded restrooms, installation of air conditioning, covered stairs and a new exterior. Work is expected to be completed by Fall 2018. Graduations in 2017 and 2018 will be held at other facilities. It was noted that the AC system will be enclosed and not be a source of noise to the community. More information can be found at this site.

Revelle introduced Canal Shores Board Member and Grounds Committee Chair Steve Neumann who shared a presentation on the findings of PRI, the environmental consulting firm that has been working with the golf course to prepare the Ecological Master Plan. Neumann provided an overview of the findings that included an inventory of trees and habitats and wetlands. The study will provide guidance for clearing out of invasives and is designed to be environmentally responsible to preserve habitats. The Golf Course has also received full Audubon Certification for environmental excellence for golf courses You can view the news release at this link. 

Neumann also reported that plans for the golf component are now on hold and that the Board would be working closely with the community to develop a plan that will incorporate best practices.

Revelle the introduced Officer Will Arzuaga from the Evanston Police Department’s Problem Solving Team. Arzuaga presented the latest statistics on crime in the 7th Ward which is mostly burglary, and often due to the fact that residents leave windows, doors, cars, garages open or unlocked or when there is easy access. He reviewed a number of home safety tips. The EPD provides a home safety service to assist residents in addressing possible security issues (from lighting, locks, doors, windows, etc.). Officer Arzuaga can be reached at warzuaga!cityofevanston.org or 224/456-7969. Residents can learn more about neighborhood police services by calling 847/866-5019 or visiting this site.