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


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Envision Evanston 2045 community meeting gives residents opportunity to share goals for city

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Anavi Prakash/The Daily Northwestern
Community members give their input about the future of Evanston as part of the city’s Envision Evanston 2045 project.

Evanston resident Grace Pollert said she only attended the city’s Envision Evanston 2045 community meeting at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center Tuesday because her friend told her to. 

After the event, though, she said she wished more people had come. 

“If you come to the meetings like this and get more civically engaged, (Evanston) feels more like a community and a home instead of just like a place that you live,” she said.  

Pollert was one of almost 20 Evanston residents who attended the event. 

Envision Evanston 2045, launched in February, is the city’s plan to create a new long-term development plan and revise its zoning code to achieve its vision. The event was part of the initiative’s first phase, focused on hearing residents’ thoughts and experiences about what they want Evanston to look like in two decades.

The initial phase will run through April. Then, city officials will use the feedback to develop a project plan in Phase 2.

At the meeting, residents spoke with city officials and consultants and asked any questions they had about the project.

“Having people that are able to engage with them automatically has (residents) feeling like there’s more people that are willing to listen,” said Meagan Jones, the city’s neighborhood and land use planner.

The event was structured as an “open house,” allowing attendees to interact with the questions meeting organizers posed about living in Evanston, according to Jon Brooke, the landscape architecture studio lead for consulting company HDR, whom the city hired for the project.

Questions ranged from what challenges residents face living in Evanston to their favorite spots in the city. Residents could answer by writing notes on a poster board and by marking places on a map of the city. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, many attendees mentioned that they want to see improvements in road safety and affordable housing.

Community meetings have taken place across the city since February. At every meeting, Brooke said most residents emphasize equity, housing and diversity throughout the city in their answers. 

Pollert said she liked the format of the event because she prefers written responses to a discussion. She said it allowed her to think about how the questions impacted her as well as her neighborhood. 

5th Ward resident Timmy Samuels said he and his husband pushed their neighbors to participate in the event.

“There has been a history of the city not listening to people, specifically from the 5th Ward,” he said. “So, getting all of those people together to try to guide what the city does, that’s important.”

Brooke said he hopes more young people will engage with these meetings. To facilitate this, the city has established outreach plans for Evanston Township High School, he said.

The city will be hosting more meetings like Tuesday’s throughout the next month and will hold “visioning workshops” throughout the Envision Evanston 2045 process to get the community involved, Jones said. Residents can also give their input through the city’s online Envision Evanston 2045 survey.

Jones said it’s important for a large number of residents from diverse backgrounds to share their input.  

“It is imperative that we are able to reach a number of different people so that we get that variety of voices and have a good feel for what we actually need to do,” she said. 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @anavi_52

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