Evanston permits Robert Crown Center fundraising consultant

Ben Schaefer, Assistant City Editor

Evanston aldermen unanimously approved a proposal to request a fundraising consultant to work on the Robert Crown Center building project.

The city is considering plans to either rebuild or renovate the community center, 1701 Main St.

John Ronan, of John Ronan Architects, presented renderings of both options to the council. Both plans include the construction of a library and multipurpose rooms along with improvements to the ice rinks.

The estimated cost of the project is approximately $18 million to $30 million, according to city documents. The total will depend on which construction plan the city pursues.

Council members spoke hesitantly about committing to the expensive project, but underscored the need for improvements to the facility.

“This plan is 10 years in the making,” Ald. Donald Wilson (4th) said. “It’s a community center, but we want it to be a true community center that doesn’t smell bad or leak.”

Members of the community spoke passionately about the proposed project.

“Robert Crown is the centerpiece of our fields,” Evanston’s American Youth Soccer Organization commissioner Peter Kaplan said. “When I walk into Crown, I find it embarrassingly bad. I see the facilities in other towns and they’re proud of them, I want that and I think we can do that.”

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