Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement
Misdemeanor charges dropped against NU faculty for activity during pro-Palestinian encampment
City Council approves $2 million grant application to renovate Hilda’s Place, talks Evanston Dog Beach accessibility access
City Council expands guaranteed income program, exempts athletic fields from leaf blower ordinance
Body recovered in Lake Michigan, EPD examining identity of body
Evanston’s ‘Seeds of Change’ theme inspires unity at Fourth of July parade
Lawsuit against Pritzker School of Law alleges its hiring process discriminates against white men
Evanston Fire concludes recovery search and rescue efforts for missing swimmer after ‘exhausting’ all resources
Advertisement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Independent review of athletics department released, puts forth key recommendations

Northwestern hosts groundbreaking ceremony at Ryan Field construction site

June 25, 2024

Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

June 13, 2024

Advertisement

The secret (and short) lives of cicadas on campus

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Year in Review: The biggest stories in Evanston politics in 2023

The+expansion+eligibility+would+include+families+with+children+who+are+entering+third+grade%2C+which+would+make+approximately+99+to+108+new+families+eligible.+
Daily file photo by Jacob Wendler
The expansion eligibility would include families with children who are entering third grade, which would make approximately 99 to 108 new families eligible.

With City Council gearing up for the new year, The Daily takes a look at Evanston’s biggest political stories in 2023.

March: City Council expands reparations program, allows for cash payments

Evanston became the first city in the U.S. to enact a reparations resolution for Black residents in 2019. The Restorative Housing Program, launched in 2021, initially planned to give eligible Black residents $25,000 housing grants used for mortgage payments, down payments on a new home or renovations.

But, after community members criticized the program for not giving Black residents enough agency, City Council voted unanimously to add a direct cash payment option to the program during a March council meeting.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th), who led the push for cash reparations in the council, said he believes the option will help make the program more efficient and distribute the funds quicker.

Evanston is expected to announce the order in which residents who are children or grandchildren of those affected by housing discrimination between 1919 and 1969, receive reparations in a January meeting.

April: Municipal elections decide City Council, school boards seats

Evanston residents voted in two councilmembers and a slate of school board members in the city’s April 4 municipal elections.

After two former councilmembers left in 2022, Mayor Daniel Biss appointed Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) and Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) to council. Both appointees ran in the April special City Council election and won with a majority of the votes. They will stay in their seats until 2025.

Five candidates ran for three seats on the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education. Omar Salem, a teacher in Niles North High School’s special education department, Mya Wilkins (Kellogg ’06), incumbent and a district parent, and Sergio Hernandez Jr., the incumbent school board president, won.

Five candidates vied for four seats on the Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education. Two incumbents, Monique Parsons, and Liz Rolewicz, won four-year terms, as did Leah Piekarz, a retired ETHS counselor. Incumbent Mirah Anti won a two-year term. 

May: Connections for the Homeless receives permit for Margarita Inn shelter

City Council approved a special use permit for Connections for the Homeless in May to operate a rooming house at the Margarita Inn after years of debate on the building’s future.

Connections, an Evanston-based nonprofit, has been providing housing services to individuals experiencing homelessness at the Margarita Inn, located on Oak Avenue, since March 2020, and reapplied for a permit after the Inn’s previous permit expired in March 2022.

Since City Council approved the permit, Connections has received a $7 million loan from Cook County to complete the purchase of the Margarita Inn.

The Inn also hosted the first meeting of the Good Neighbor Advisory Council –– a council mandated by the Good Neighbor Agreement the city signed with Connections to allow oversight of the shelter. The council includes city and Connections officials, inn residents, neighbors and nearby business owners. The council will meet regularly to hear updates from Connections staff and monitor the agreement. 

October: Evanston completed participatory pilot in collaboration with NU

In 2022, City Council voted to allocate $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to launch a pilot program on participatory budgeting in collaboration with researchers from Northwestern University. 

The program allowed residents, supported by city staff and volunteers, to submit a budget of projects for the city to consider and develop into proposals for a citywide vote. The final ballot included 20 proposals, and more than 6,500 people, or 8.4% of the Evanston population, voted during September. 

In October, the city announced it would fund seven top-voted proposals, ranging from mental health first aid training and refugee housing to grants for the Evanston Urban Farm and small businesses. 

November: City Council approves Ryan Field rezoning, but lawsuit could derail construction

City Council approved Northwestern’s plan to rebuild Ryan Field and host concerts at the new stadium at a Nov. 20 special meeting after months of debate and heightened tensions. 

The council approved the rebuild of the stadium with a 6-2 vote but split evenly on ordinances to rezone the area to allow for public-facing concerts and to authorize City Manager Luke Stowe to sign a memorandum of understanding between the city and NU. Biss cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of both ordinances, with Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th), a University employee, voting to abstain. 

Since NU announced the Rebuild Ryan Field plan in September 2022, it has been criticized by Evanston residents who are concerned about the potential noise pollution and traffic congestion caused by the new stadium. But, Biss and the four councilmembers who voted in favor said the new stadium, and NU’s promised $150 million in benefits, will prove a net positive for the city.

According to University representatives, NU is set to break ground on the demolition of the old Ryan Field before the end of the academic year. The new stadium is expected to be completed by 2026.

But a lawsuit filed by the Most Livable City Association and 13 residents who live near Ryan Field against the city for approving the zoning could complicate NU’s timeline. An initial hearing of the case is scheduled for March 29 at the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @caseeey_he

Related Stories:

Year in Review: Evanston’s biggest headlines of the past year

Year in Review: NU’s top stories from 2022-23

Year in review: Evanston government turnover in 2022

More to Discover