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home : community forum : community forum - submit/review comments March 26, 2015

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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Community forum entry by: Augusta Bloom

Around the Table. Let’s sit around the table and converse
About the problems of the universe.
We’ll try to arrive at a solution
And if we’re able
We’ll send the answer to the Evanston RoundTable.



Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Community forum entry by: James Hebson

In Praise of the Humble Alley. “…I’m so glad we had this time together…,” I sang out over the cold, icy
alley on Ashland, in front of St. Athanasius School. It was just me and my youngest, Helen there were no other parents or students around.
“…Just to have a laugh, or sing a song…” Helen’s eye roll was tinged with fear that someone might show up and hear me. The alley is as far as I’m allowed to accompany my 8th grader. Dad = Uncool.
“…Seems we just get started, and before you know it…” Sometimes getting older makes you feel like a visitor from another planet. All of your references are alien and strange. The closing song from “The Carol Burnett Show” is completely foreign to Helen. She’d probably think it was dumb. She wanted to walk to school alone. “No.” I said, “Let me walk with you. I have a limited number of chances left. Then you’ll be out of my clutches forever.”
“…Comes the time we have to say…” I cherish these walks to St. A’s with my children. Breaking new ice in the puddles, finding cool stuff that people threw away. One time we found a bat, an exotic reminder of the night-time world of the alley. We’d watch as the snowdrops pushed through the last snowdrifts to bloom, then marvel as the backyards turned blue with squill blossoms.
The school discouraged families from taking the alleys, but I never liked the sidewalks. The sidewalk was official, but the alley was our own. The alley was the chance for one last adventure before the school day started. Often something the kids would say in the alley would hang around my mind for the rest of the day, like a little jewel. To me, the alley – with all its potholes, dirt, and weeds – is holy ground. I will miss it.
“…So long.”



Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Community forum entry by: Mary Rosinski

We, Evanston residents, must encourage our city council to protect our wonderful and limited natural resources.If Evanston to be "green", a positive action and goal our city council can take is to maintain our open and natural spaces for residents now as well as future generations.
Development has its place in any vibrant community, however, it does not trump an irreplaceable public lakefront asset, nor does putting asphalt in the middle of one of Evanston's few natural habitats seem like a wise environmental action. Two previous comments address the our natural resources. Dr. Boyer brings up the importance of our keeping our lakefront parkland open. commercial free and a public asset, in line with the Burnham plan. Boyer reminds us of slippery slope we will be on if we allow private development on the lakefront. Privatization and commercialization is in contradiction to the Evanston Lakefront Master Plan.Which took years, $200,000 and so much public input to Dickelle Fonda highlights the sadness many feel about the loss of the natural path which currently goes though the arboretum. The path will be replaced with asphalt. The council choose not to back the on the Ladd Aboretum Committee who fought for the natural path which would have been fully accessible to everyone, walkers and wheelchairs. It seems the crushed granite was more costly. I think we need to question why there is often not enough money for the for our parks, recreation, natural resources when there is so much money in our TIFFS like the $905,000in the Southwest TIFF for distribution. Maybe it's time to look at our TIFF districts and how that money may or may not be best used.



Posted: Monday, March 16, 2015
Community forum entry by: Daniel Stein

We would like to express our enthusiastic support for Bill Stafford for re-election to the Oakton Community College District 535 Board. Bill has provided strong financial leadership as chair of both the Finance and Audit committees. During his tenure Oakton has embarked on a long-needed $68.5 million capital improvements program.
The recent opening of the new, state-of-the-art $39 million Lee Science and Health Careers Center is the centerpiece of that new building program. This world-class facility is not only an emblem of environmental stewardship, but also a result of fiscal conservation. Oakton is particularly proud to have been able to self-finance $20 million of the project’s $39 million budget, for which Bill provided invaluable financial stewardship. He also helped to secure an Aaa Moody’s bond rating (the highest rating a governmental body can receive) for Oakton, which reduces the cost of money to taxpayers when the College borrows funds.
His re-election will maintain consistency and provide financial leadership for the Oakton Community College Board. I hope you will join us in voting for Bill on April 7 or during the early voting period.
Daniel and Lisa Stein



Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2015
Community forum entry by: Dan Coyne

The void of human activity in Elk’s Park during a wonderfully warm Saturday last fall struck me as a lost opportunity. Why are the children and families living nearby not playing outside in our biggest park located in Evanston’s south side? After all, over 1,200 neighbors joined our community outreach pizza-in-the-park events in the summer as a response to the shootings last spring. Not only did our peaceful reclaiming of Elk’s Park renew community relationships among neighbors, the mere presence of hundreds of local residents playing in the park sent a clear message to those with antisocial intent. We live here and we will peacefully stand our ground against violence and unlawful activities in our community!

The answer to my empty-park question became clear when I discovered 10 kids playing in the mud on Case Street-one block south of the empty park. This is a street tucked alongside the tracks of the Yellow Line and Metra. The mud covered kids were smiling from ear to ear and their laughter pierced the train noise. This scene could have been right out of rural south Mississippi 50 years ago. African American children using their available resources to make the best society offers them. Despite having no park services just one block away and despite having city owned property full of trash, broken sidewalks, and neglected streets, the children discovered play in the street: puddles and mud.

As I walked near the youthful cacophony they suddenly stopped and instantaneously asked, “Hey Mr. Coyne, when are we going to have pizza in the parks again?” Wow, from the mouth of Babes. The fact that these young citizens remembered my name from our community outreach and that they hungered for more fun in the park sealed my conviction to advocate for more outdoor park activities.

This experience also felt like a slap in my park commissioner’s face! Why don’t we have afterschool and weekend staff playing with these kids in our park? How can I as one of Ridgeville Park District’s (RPD) elected commissioners help realign budgetary and administration priorities? Serving on RPD board of commissioners these past two years has allowed me to advocate and implement progressive policies/procedures that partly reach the children in our community: full outdoor basketball courts, community gardening, recreation safety/security, flag football, and greatly reduced nepotism (family members of Director and Board Members). We have so much further to go in bringing RPD into the 21st Century best Parks/Recreation practices: water fountains, portable bathrooms, gardening in each park, transparency in all governance, and sustainable/meaningful community partnerships.

I am encouraged that our community has a choice in voting for the open RPD commissioner seat: Patrick McCourt (25 years on board) and Socorro Clarke (Hispanic Social Worker). According to Ms. Clarke’s vision for RPD, she will strongly advocate for the children on Case Street and the 6,000 other children in our district who seek ways to be included. Socorro Clarke has my vote and full support on April 7 and beyond.

Please become informed voters and help shape Ridgeville Park District into 21st century best recreation practices. Sincerely, Dan Coyne 827 Monroe Street (coynedaniel@comcast.net)



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