Council considers whether to build new Civic Center

The Evanston City Council could decide at its meeting tonight to build a new Civic Center rather than pay $20.5 million to rehabilitate the old current building.

“I expect that there’ll be a resolution that will pass that will suggest that the city should look at relocating the central offices,” said Ald. Edmund Moran (6th), “as opposed to refurbishing or otherwise improving the current Civic Center.”

The decision would be a “declaration of an intent,” Moran said. The final details of any relocation plan have yet to be solidified.

“There’s a lot of work do be done on this issue,” he said.

Some potential sites for the new building have been discussed, but no final decisions have been made.

Maintenance issues have plagued the current Civic Center for some time. The city has used the building, 2100 Ridge Ave., for more than 30 years. In May the city was forced to start installing protective canopies around the building to protect pedestrians from pieces of slate falling off the roof.

“Every mechanical, electrical and plumbing system is nearing the end of its useful expected life,” David Cook, Evanston’s assistant director of facilities management, told The Daily last spring.

If a new center is constructed, it is not clear what will happen to the space occupied by the current center. Likely, parts of the block will be developed into a residential area, but some of the green space would remain, Moran said.

“One thing that is fairly clear that will be the case is that Ingraham Park … will be retained in one form or another regardless of what the development options will be or are,” he said.

The Administration and Public Works and Planning and Development committees will meet at 7 p.m., and the full council will convene at 8:30 p.m.

All meetings are held at the Civic Center.

? Paul Thissen