Evanston City Council backs arts ‘roadmap,’ green-lights Howard Street brewery


Edward Cox/The Daily Northwestern

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl presents an award to Edzos Burger Shop chef Eddie Lakin for serving one of the top 25 burgers in the U.S. “Simply awesome top of the line burgers with tons of options for customization plus a fantastic selection of to die for fries,” Tisdahl reads from the award given by restaurant guidebook publisher Zagat.

Edward Cox, Reporter

Evanston aldermen on Monday night adopted a long-term plan for local arts development and approved city funding for a new brewery on Howard Street.

EvanstARTs, an arts collaborative group consisting of the city and community organizations, presented its final report to the City Council during its weekly meeting at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. The report outlines a so-called “roadmap” for developing the city’s arts presence, drawing from 750 residents’ input.

“I think the second step is really bringing the leadership of all these initiatives together,” evanstARTs consultant Amina Dickerson said. “One of the things we heard is that they’re splintered efforts.”

One major finding of the report is that 14 of the city’s 85 arts organizations had budgets under $100,000.

Dickerson asked aldermen to appoint a city official to coordinate arts groups and initial funding for the program.

Once budget initiatives for evanstARTs are prioritized, the community could donate to the program, Dickerson said. She pointed to the United Fund for the Arts and Humanities as a model for residents pitching in for arts development.

The council unanimously approved the report for consideration.

“This just is the most exciting presentation I’ve heard in a long time, just so coherent,” Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said. “There’s probably nothing I know less about than arts admin, but some of it is just common sense.”

Aldermen also approved the development of a restaurant and brewery in the 600 block of Howard Street. Only Ald. Donald Wilson (4th) objected to the allocation of $200,000 in city funds to developer Peckish One for the project.

Later in the meeting, the council ran into some confusion on the number of lakefront events to include in next year’s special events calendar.

The addition of a Halloween run event by Evanston-based Jet Events would exceed the lakefront event limit of 12, Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) said. Wynne said she would need to know more about the company’s business model before allowing it to host lakefront events alongside other Evanston organizations, which apparently unlike Jet, are traditionally non-profit.

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz scheduled an meeting for April 16 to address the issue.

“This is an event that I said would happen in October when we don’t have any of these community fitness events in Evanston,”  Ald. Jane Grover (7th) said. “There’s no better places in Evanston to do a run than on the lakefront.”