The Fifth Ward TIF needs more work

Position Statement from Central Street Neighbors Association

On proposed Ordinances 65-O-21, 66-O-21, and 67-O-21, collectively establishing the “5/5 TIF” district


The Board of Directors of Central Street Neighbors Association (CSNA) urges the Council not to approve the ordinances establishing the proposed TIF district. Too many concerns and questions have been unsatisfactorily addressed, including:

  • The TIF district’s budget turns on tripling area’s assessed value, but current 5th Ward residents desire not to be driven out of their homes, and there has been no housing impact study
  • The TIF area, to which funds are limited, excludes most 5th Ward residents who need help staying in their homes
  • The TIF district inappropriately includes more public property, university property, and already-developed property than any previous Evanston TIF district
  • Strategies such as selling the Morton Civic Center run directly counter to public sentiment as expressed strongly in referenda

We agree with one community advocate who wrote, “the council is pushing this too hard and too fast without completing the necessary work to ensure success.” We also are disturbed by the lack of detail about how the money will be spent.

Earlier this year, after years of unhappiness at City decisonmaking processes, a new mayor and four new council members were elected on platforms of increased transparency and citizen involvement. In a first major decision, we seem to be headed in the opposite direction and toward an increase in the tax burden without clarity as to goals, methods, and impacts.

Wed. Sept 22nd 5/5th TIF Community Organized Zoom Discussion with TIF Expert Tom Tressor for the Civic Lab

Proposed 5/5ths TIF Financially Impacts Every resident in every ward and deserves full exploration before council members rush to approve a 23 year financial commitment which involves 10s of Millions of dollars and over 14 acres of public land and the Civic Center. 

 Join your neighbors for a discussion, Q&A & Action


Evanston TIFs - Panel discussion Thurs. July 29th 7:00 join zoom

Corrected Tif ImageOn July 29th at 7:00 PM, Community Alliance for Better Government (CABG)  will be hosting a forum on the proposed 5th Ward TIF.

Registration for the free event is available on Community Alliance for Better Government’s website and below.

The event will be moderated by Sebastian Nalls with Council Member Bobby Burns and attorney Jeff Smith as the primary speakers.

Sebastian will ask Bobby Burns and Jeff Smith a series of questions regarding TIFs which will be followed by questions from the community. This will be a virtual event hosted on Zoom and livestreamed on social media platforms.

Attendees and those who can't attend can submit questions before and during the event by emailing


Video of the Town Hall with Daniel Biss

To watch the smaller  in-line version click on the video thumbnail below. To watch the full frame hi-def version then click on the YouTube logo at the bottom of the thumbnail below.



Why Daniel Biss's Convo with CSNA Is Cool

A brief rant on "town hall meetings" and why the meeting Tuesday, June 29 is unusual and worth attending.

The phrase "town meeting" conjures up images of the public at an old-fashioned public meeting, giving their elected officials a piece of their mind. Norman Rockwell's famous 1943 painting "Freedom of Speech" (right) depicts such a "town meeting" in Vermont.

In an ever-more-digitized and depersonalized era, with growing disconnect between government and the governed, my observation is that many -- not all, but many -- citizens are hungry for opportunities to be heard.


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