Evanston aldermen give Piven more time to find new space

Ciara McCarthy, Summer Reporter

Evanston aldermen Monday postponed a vote on Piven Theatre Workshop’s controversial expansion plan, giving the group more time to explore other options, including a downtown location.

City Council tabled a proposal by Piven to double its space in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St. The Noyes Tenants Association, which formed in opposition to the plan, say some of their members would have to relocate under Piven’s plan.

(Piven Theatre expansion plan sparks controversy)

The proposal also calls for the city to lend Piven $2.2 million of the necessary $3.55 million for the building’s renovation. While Piven pays the loan, its rent would be made negligible.

When the plan was introduced to aldermen earlier this month, Ald. Mark Tendam (6th) suggested Piven leave the arts center and move downtown.

Before the council’s meeting Monday, Piven executive director Leslie Brown called upon aldermen to hold off on a decision while the theater group considers other options.

“While Piven is open to discussing Downtown Evanston as a possible home, it is one of several exciting options, both in and outside of Evanston, that have become available to us,” Brown said in a news release.

On Monday, Tendam said his suggestion garnered “wide support” from many of the elected officials, arts organizations and residents with which he has since spoken.

“I think that’s a goal that the community can get behind,” he said. “It speaks to the future of the arts in Evanston.”

Patrick Svitek contributed reporting.

Summer reporter Ciara McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mccarthy_ciara.