Council allocates $3 million toward Evanston Thrives recommendations


Cole Reynolds/The Daily Northwestern

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Cole Reynolds, Assistant City Editor

City Council voted unanimously Monday to allocate $3 million of Evanston’s American Rescue Plan Act funding toward recommendations presented in an Evanston Thrives report. The report aims to help local businesses rebound from the pandemic. 

Consulting firm Interface Studio conducted the Evanston Thrives report and recommends that the city provide funding for events and beautification projects in its nine retail districts to increase foot traffic. 

The report also recommends the city create a stronger relationship with NU, one they see as mutually beneficial.

According to city staff involved in the project, the recommendations in Evanston Thrives are meant to draw a new population of people to Downtown Evanston. Office vacancies in Evanston reached 10.9% in June 2021, prompting staff to rethink downtown Evanston’s reliance on office workers.

Funding will come from the city’s remaining $5.7 million in ARPA funds. Evanston has received a total of just over $43 million in ARPA funding since 2021.

However, representatives from Interface said more funding might be needed to fully complete the plan. 

“Three million dollars doesn’t get you far,” said Sarah Kellerman, studio director for Interface. “One of the things Evanstonians need and these retail districts need is a vote of confidence…and I think $3 million will get you a show of commitment.”

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