Downtown Evanston celebrates 5 years with fiscal festivities

Downtown Evanston board of directors chair Russ Abell welcomes audience members to the nonprofit’s annual meeting. The organization celebrated its five years of working as a full-time organization.

Tanner Maxwell/Daily Senior Staffer

Downtown Evanston board of directors chair Russ Abell welcomes audience members to the nonprofit’s annual meeting. The organization celebrated its five years of working as a full-time organization.

Tanner Maxwell, Reporter

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Downtown Evanston on Thursday celebrated its five-year anniversary as a full-time organization by announcing new economic development initiatives during its annual meeting.

Downtown Evanston officials announced the arrival of new businesses and joint projects by the city, Northwestern and other groups that will promote economic development.

“We’ve had an extremely busy five years,” board of directors chair Russ Abell said. “Now that the economy has been picking up steam … it has been a great collaborative effort.”

Founded in 1987 as a part-time organization, Downtown Evanston became full-time in 2007 and hired its first executive director, Carolyn Dellutri, one year later.

Dellutri said 26 new businsses opened downtown last year, creating 163 full-time and 105 part-time jobs. In addition, she said nine new businesses will come to Evanston this year, including Forever Yogurt, Joy Yee ToGo and a second location for Chicago-based pub Farmhouse.

Afterward, assistant city manager Marty Lyons told the audience about new methods for parking in the downtown area. Public works director Suzette Robinson said the city approved plans to renovate Davis Street, including the creation of bike paths and changes in parking space alignment.

“Parking is a very big issue in the downtown,” Lyons said. “One thing we’ve had on the agenda for about a year is to change out the parking system or reevaluate it.”

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