The Daily Northwestern

Council delays several capital improvement programs for 2018

Ald.+Ann+Rainey+%288th%29+speaks+at+a+City+Council+meeting.+Rainey+voted+in+favor+of+deferring+four+programs+from+the+city%E2%80%99s+2018+Capital+Improvement+program.
Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) speaks at a City Council meeting. Rainey voted in favor of deferring four programs from the city’s 2018 Capital Improvement program.

Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) speaks at a City Council meeting. Rainey voted in favor of deferring four programs from the city’s 2018 Capital Improvement program.

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) speaks at a City Council meeting. Rainey voted in favor of deferring four programs from the city’s 2018 Capital Improvement program.

Samantha Handler, Assistant City Editor

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Aldermen cut several projects from the 2018 Capital Improvement program, meeting the $10 million target for the plan.

Evanston’s engineering and capital planning bureau chief Lara Biggs said at a council meeting on May 21 that in past years, the city generally did not exceed in awarding more than $9 million in bonds total. However, Biggs said, the city will award $10 million because staff had over budgeted this year.

From the proposed plan, aldermen needed to cut about $1.3 million to meet the $10 million target, according to city documents. The council carved out $1.4 million from the budget, deferring plans for four projects: painting the viaduct over the Emerson Street, Ridge Avenue, Green Bay Road intersection; repairing a service center; renovating the Lovelace Tennis Court and an animal shelter programming study.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) said the viaduct is “hideous” in its current state, but recognized that the complexity of the project makes it costly. According to city documents, the viaduct painting would cost $600,000.

Aldermen decided to not delay plans to repair the South Pier of the Church Street Harbor, which is estimated to cost about $900,000 after it was originally budgeted to cost $600,000.

“If you wait, the cost will rise,” Biggs said. “You’re looking at an additional $300,000 now, who knows if you put off two years or even to next year.”

Biggs said the city needs to rebuild the South Pier seawall that has deteriorated, allowing more sand to flow into the harbor, causing damage to the floating dock. The excess sand also drives up the city’s dredging expenses, a process that clears out the harbor by removing the sand, Biggs said. She added that there used to be a walkway on top of the wall that people could use to walk or fish.

Parks, recreation and community service director Lawrence Hemingway said fixing the dock is “essential” to lakefront operations as it brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars through recreation and is used for rescue boats and other emergencies.

He added that in an ideal world the city would redo the seawall, saving the city dredging costs and bringing back some lakefront recreation activities.

Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said the lakefront and lake recreation is part of what makes Evanston unique. She agreed that repairs need to be done “now.”

“We ought to do everything that’s humanly possible to take care of the amenities that are at the lakefront,” Rainey said. “Any effort to downgrade the wall is just nuts.”

Email: samanthahandler2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @sn_handler

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