Evanston150 steering committee provides one year anniversary updates

Olga Gonzalez Latapi, Reporter

The steering committee of Evanston150 celebrated its one year anniversary Thursday by updating the community on its projects intended to move the community forward.

About 100 people attended the meeting at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, where directors of the 10 projects told attendees what has been done with their ideas and what will be done in the future.

The Evanston150 program was created in 2008 in preparation for Evanston’s 150th anniversary in 2013. The projects set into motion a year ago addressed several aspects of the city, including technology, sustainability and education.

Committee members said the project that made the most progress was “Water, Water Everywhere,” which focuses on teaching children how to swim. On Oct. 3, project members kicked off “Evanston Swims,” which invited about 130 students from several Evanston elementary schools to learn about swimming and water safety.

On the other hand, the Evanston Teen Center project, which aims to create a “world class youth development center,” has made little progress in the first year. The project’s director asked other community members to get teens involved in the project. A project working to establish free Wi-Fi across the city is still working with the Evanston Public Library.

The steering committee solicited ideas from the community that they would like to see happen in Evanston. The community members were invited to brainstorm project ideas and submit them to the Evanston150 website from March to July 2011, said Stephanie Kulke, Evanston150 project director.

Patrick Keenan-Devlin (Weinberg and Bienen ‘06), a member of the Evanston150 steering committee, said more than 2,000 ideas were submitted for consideration. Devlin, who acted as host for the evening, said the Evanston150 projects will have a big impact on the city and ultimately “build a lasting legacy.”

Additional projects updated attendees on their progress. For instance, “A Market For All Seasons” strives to connect the community with local farmers and artisans. The project director told attendees that there are plans for two more farmer’s markets this year.

Evanston150 project director Stephanie Kulke said the meeting was a great way to keep people aware of the initiative’s ongoing actions. Kulke added Thursday night’s meeting was a way to make sure the projects are making progress and allow project directors to ask the community for help.

Evanston 150 founder Jay Lytle, former Evanston mayor, said the project was created to find a way to commemorate the city’s history.

“We wanted something that would have a lasting impact,” Lytle said. “We did not want to just have a party.”