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Trending Topics and Facts

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The page is designed to provide clarity and details on topics of interest circulating in the community, eliminate misconceptions, and spread accurate information about City of Evanston projects and activities. This page will be updated regularly, so please visit again for additional information.


If there is information you would like to see included, please send an email to The City also has a page devoted to myths and legends associated with our 150-year-old City.  The Knowledge Base & FAQ's page might also answer questions you might have.

  1. Is the City planning to rebuild the Robert Crown Community Center? (3/4/17)
  2. I heard the City is cutting back on street sweeping—is this true? (10/25/16)
  3. What are the current annual salaries of the City Council? (Last Update: 10/25/16)
  4. What is the status of the Harley-Clarke Mansion and the surrounding area? (Last Update: 10/25/16)
  5. Is the Recycling Center at 2222 Oakton Street being sold? (Last Update: 1/12/17)
  6. Who are the top 10 employers in Evanston? (Last Update: 7/27/15)
  7. What is the status of methane testing at James Park? (Last Update: 10/21/16)
  8. Is there a risk of significantly reducing lake levels if the City starts selling water to more communities? (Last Update: 7/27/15)
  9. I heard bowling is illegal in Evanston. Is that true? (Last Update: 7/27/15)
  10. The City Council provides funding to local businesses. Where can I find out more about the projects that get funded and the source of the money? (Last Update: 7/27/15)
  11. I hear sirens on Tuesday mornings. What does that mean? (Last Update: 7/27/15)
  12. What is the City's breakdown by part-time and full-time employees by race and gender? (Last Update: 7/30/2015)
  13. How much does the City spend to support the annual 4th of July parade, fireworks, and other festivities each year? (Last Update: 7/27/15)
  14. What happened to the Evanston Township and who handles General Assistance now? (Last Update: 7/27/15)
  15. What are the facts about the easement granted to Northwestern University to develop the Segal Visitors Center at Sheridan Road and Campus Drive? (Last Update 7/27/15)
  16. Where can I find more information on Northwestern University projects and construction activity? (Last Update: 7/27/15)
  17. What is the City's cost of maintaining beach operations?
  18. What is the cost to run City-operated parking garages?

Question: I heard the City is cutting back on street sweeping—is this true?

As part of the City’s commitment to continuous improvement, a year-long analysis of street cleaning operations was conducted with many community members providing detailed input and suggestions through a survey. The feedback helped form an updated operations plan, which was approved by the City Council and implemented spring 2016.

Street cleaning takes place March 1 through December 31. Residential streets are swept once a month on a specific day during the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th week (i.e. 2nd Tuesday of each month), or 10 times per season. Primary streets are swept twice a month (i.e. 2nd and 4th Tuesday), or up to 20 times per season. Streets with parking on one side only are swept once a month on Mondays, but, due to the extended season, or up to 10 times. Street cleaning crews use extra days left over at the end of each month (the 5th days of the month) to target specific areas in need of attention. The City is considering changes to the 2016 street cleaning schedule that will allow street signage to more clearly indicate street cleaning dates, eliminate confusion and improve operations.

Street cleaning schedule 


Question: What are the annual salaries of the City Council?

New salary effective May 1, 2017: The annual salary of an Evanston Alderman before taxes is $15,990. The Mayor’s annual salary before taxes is $25,317. The City Clerk’s annual salary before taxes is $64,120.

The aldermanic compensation structure must be reviewed by a nonaldermanic committee every four (4) years. This committee must submit a report and recommendation to the City Council no later than two hundred forty (240) days prior to the next regularly scheduled municipal election.  

Question: What is the status of the Harley-Clarke Mansion and the surrounding area?

As of September 2016, the Evanston City Council approved next steps for the Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House, located at 2603 Sheridan Rd., in Evanston.

• The Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House (“property") will be owned and operated by the City of Evanston.

• The City Council allocates in the Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2017 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) a total of $250,000 for immediate improvements at the property. The City Manager is authorized to expend these funds for critical repairs to the property.

• The City Manager is directed to use the property in 2017 for City-sponsored summer recreation activities only. This will include programs currently using the “Fog Houses” and similar activities. No additional staff will be allocated in Fiscal Year 2017 for these uses.

• The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Board and Lighthouse Landing Complex Committee, working with the City Manager and appropriate staff, are directed to develop a plan for the future operation of the property beginning in 2018. This plan will include identifying community groups and non-profit organizations that may wish to use the property. The City will also identify additional program uses and associated costs for the property. The plan shall also review and include recommendations to ensure better access to the property through transit, biking, shuttles and other methods. The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Board and Lighthouse Landing Committee will return to the City Council with recommendations no later than July 1, 2017.

• Upon City Council approval of the property's operational plan and available budget allocations, the property would be regularly open to the public beginning in 2018.

• The City will establish a Harley Clarke Mansion account within the Evanston Parks Foundation to receive donations to support the improvements of the property.

 More information the Harley-Clarke property can be found here


Question: Is the Recycling Center at 2222 Oakton Street being sold?

In July 2015 City Council approved negotiating a lease with Smylie Brothers Brewing Company, which operates a brewpub downtown at 1615 Oak Ave., to add a larger brewery operation at the old recycling center site at 2222 Oakton St. The lease calls for Smylie Brothers to pay $163,750 a year in rent on the property, after an initial 18-month rent free-period in which to construct the brewery. The rent payment would rise in subsequent years based on increases in the consumer price index. The City agreed to a  10-year initial lease term with two five-year renewal options for Smylie Bros. as well as an option to purchase the property, subject to further City Council approval.

The city anticipates approximately an additional  $48,000 a year in liquor tax and a share of property tax revenue from the project starting in 2018.  Read more...



Question: Is there a risk of significantly reducing lake levels if the City starts selling water to more communities?

No, there is not. All of the communities that might potentially become Evanston wholesale water customers already get their water supply from Lake Michigan through Chicago’s water treatment plant. If they purchase water from Evanston, they would cease receiving water from Chicago and, as a result, there would be no increase in customers.


Question: I heard bowling is illegal in Evanston. Is that true?

Bowling alleys are legal in Evanston. Title 3, Chapter 8 of the City's Code provides for the licensing of bowling alleys. If you are interested in opening a bowling alley, the application for a bowling alley license is currently $240 per year. More Evanston myths can found here.


Question: The City Council provides funding to local businesses. Where can I find out more about the projects that get funded and the source of the money?

The Economic Development Fund provides support for the implementation of the City Council-adopted Economic Development Plan; funding for the City's economic development initiatives, as well as staff, consulting services, and marketing efforts needed to support these activities. In addition, the Economic Development Fund is a resource for business assistance, in the form of loans and grants, particularly in areas outside of the seven TIF Districts. Information on projects that have received Economic Development funds or tax increment financing funds can be found here.


Question: How much does the City spend to support the annual 4th of July parade, fireworks, and other festivities each year?

The 4th of July activities are supported by the Evanston 4th of July Association, an all-volunteer organization that funds, organizes, and manages all of the 4th of July activities in Evanston.


Question: What happened to the Evanston Township and who handles General Assistance now?

In the March 2014 municipal election, the voters of Evanston Township voted to dissolve the Township Organization. Following the certification of the results by the Cook County Clerk, the Township operations were dissolved in Spring of 2014. The City of Evanston's Health and Human Services Department now administers the General Assistance program. The assessor duties are maintained by the Property Tax Assessment Review Office that is housed within the City's Administrative Services Department. 



What are the facts about the easement granted to Northwestern University to develop the Segal Visitors Center at Sheridan Road and Campus Drive?

At the November 12, 2012 City Council meeting, City Council approved (6-1) Ordinance 128-O-12 authorizing the City Manager to negotiate and execute a Project Agreement and Lease Agreement for an easement with Northwestern University (NU) for City-owned property located at the northeast corner of Sheridan Road and Campus Drive. Northwestern University constructed the Segal Visitors Center, a 435-space parking garage and visitor center at the south end of campus. In order to accommodate proper access for emergency vehicles to this new visitor center, NU needed to construct a fire lane on a portion of property owned by the City of Evanston (immediately south of NU property). The easement agreement permits NU to construct the lane and requires the University to pay for all construction costs associated with the fire lane and all future maintenance. Northwestern University will pay $10,237 per year for this easement. NU also contributed $173,800 to the City in compliance with the Tree Preservation Ordinance to address the removal of trees that were located on the City property that was removed as a result of the easement and fire lane construction.


Question: Where can I find more information on Northwestern University projects and construction activities?

More information on Northwestern University's construction projects can be found here.


Question: What are the City's cost of maintaining beach operations?

Since 2012, the average annual beach function expense is $932K and the average overall revenue is $753K.  The deficit is $179K which is covered by other taxes/sources. 

Expenses: The direct costs (personnel and supplies) for the beach operations are $645,390 annually. These costs include beach worker salary costs, building costs, and other supplies. This does not include the cost of beach ramps because they are charged separately and revenue is tracked separately. Indirect costs include administrative costs total $286,587.  Of this amount, $206,587 is the cost encompasses the portion of administrative staff in the park’s department as well as the cost of beach combing, maintenance, and public works staff. Fleet costs are $80,000 which include the cost of trucks and gas. While there have been no capital costs in the last 4 years, there have been many renovations that have totaled millions of dollars. These include Clark Street Beach renovation - $1.3M, bike path renovations and beach bathroom renovations.

Revenues: Annual revenues average $753K; in 2015, it was $729,255. These do not include proceeds from the Beach Token Donation Fund (~$7,600 annually). 2015 revenue collected: Daily sales  30,951 $227,492 and Seasonal Tokens 18,365 $501,763.


Question: What are the cost to run the City-operated parking garages?

Using 2015 figures, when excluding the parking garage operations, the overall parking functions performed by the City have expenses of $6.8M and the overall revenues of $6.1M. The deficit of $691K is paid for by other taxes/sources.
Expenses: Personnel costs are $2,191,579. Overall there are 30 staff members within the City that have direct interaction with the daily operations of parking. Some staff, such as those in the Law Department does not solely focus on parking, so only a portion of their salaries was included in these costs. This does not include any police related parking personnel costs. Non-personnel costs (supplies) are $662,520. These are the other costs associated with running the parking operation from all the associated business units. These items include printing residential permits, lot permits, and yearly wheel tax reminder mailings; contract costs with Duncan Systems for cash pick up and LRP for the maintenance of meters; lot rentals; and mobile application maintenance (pay-by-cell).

Parking Capital Costs: The parking operation capital projects costs are $3,996,704, for projects such as parking lot repaving and comprehensive signage changes. Additionally, capital costs include the fleet and maintenance costs for having 14 parking related vehicles.

Revenues: The total parking revenue is $6,159,175. This does not include garage operations revenue which was $3M, or the home rule parking tax which was $2.8M.
Revenue breakdown
Resident Permits             $119,949
Visitor Passes                  $16,593
Parking Tickets                $2,566,180
Meter Revenue                $3,456,454