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Evanston 4th of July Association, city host public meeting

Joan Ducayet, former Evanston 4th of July president, discusses potential new playground sites for Independence Day celebration during a public meeting hosted by her organization and the city.

Jia You/Daily Senior Staffer

Joan Ducayet, former Evanston 4th of July president, discusses potential new playground sites for Independence Day celebration during a public meeting hosted by her organization and the city.

Jia You, City Editor

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Evanston residents may be able to catch a free ride to the city’s Fourth of July parade this summer.

Complimentary shuttles were one of several suggestions brought up Monday night at a community meeting organized by the nonprofit Evanston 4th of July Association and the city.

Association president Tracy Alden said the programming will be “bigger and better” in light of Evanston’s 150th anniversary.

About 30 people — mostly city officials and representatives from civic organizations — showed up at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St., and offered a variety of suggestions for the annual celebration, including adding new playground sites and providing free shuttles.

Traditionally, Independence Day in Evanston begins with children’s games in the morning at recreational sites across the city, followed by a parade on Central Street and fireworks on the lakefront.

This year, in conjunction with Evanston’s 150th anniversary, the association plans to add one or two more playground sites to the existing six and organize a bigger parade. The city gave $10,000 to the organization to pay for extra performers in the parade, the first time it has contributed financially to the organization.

“The city manager has been very, very supportive,” said Hillary Bean, association treasurer and parade co-director, after the meeting. “The city is really taking ownership of the Evanston 150 and this is the signature event.”

During the meeting, participants discussed potential new sites to host the children’s games, such as Raymond Park and the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St. Alden called for more volunteers to organize the parade and man the sites.

One popular idea was hosting a three-on-three basketball tournament at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, currently a playground site. Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) said the game could attract young people to the Fourth of July festivities.

Another major issue was improving transportation so more people can participate in the Central Street parade. Some suggested providing free shuttles for residents to Central Street. Bean, however, questioned how many residents would use the service.

After the meeting, Bean said the city would be willing to pay for the shuttles if demand could be proven. However, she was not encouraged by the meeting’s turnout.

“I had hoped there would be more residents as opposed to groups and organizations,” Bean said.

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About the Writer
Jia You, City Editor

Jia You was the City editor of The Daily. Her other past positions include assistant City editor. She is from Shenzhen, China, and has interned at the...