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.