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Evanston RoundTable | Evanston, IL

home : columns : columns October 6, 2015

1/30/2013 1:45:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
Pruple fountain: The dilapidating fountain at Fountain Square flows purple once a year. The City may rehab its infrastructure.RoundTable photo
Pruple fountain: The dilapidating fountain at Fountain Square flows purple once a year. The City may rehab its infrastructure.
RoundTable photo

… that traffic was briefly detoured last week because of a water main break in the 2400 block of Lake (between King Lab School and Fowler Avenue).

… that the roofs of the Church Street and the Maple Avenue parking garages will be getting some repairs. Good news: The contract will go to an Evanston company, G.A. Johnson & Son on Foster.

… that the Edgemark/Chase Proposal for Crawford, Central and Gross Point, which has undergone some changes after strong opposition from residents, was supposed to get another airing yesterday at the City’s Site Plan Appearance and Review Committee but the meeting was portponed to a future date. Readers will recall that Chase Bank wishes to open a branch bank with a drive-through there, the former site of a Citgo gas station. Among other things, the plans called for a rezoning of a piece of residential property to commercial. Word is that the vacant lot will be used as a “green zone” or buffer between the bank branch and the adjacent residential neighborhood. The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) will first hear the case at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 in Council chambers of the Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.

… that the estimate of fuel purchases for the City for this year is about $950,000. The City will purchase it from Palatine Oil Company. Palatine Oil was selected through the Northwest Municipal Conference/Suburban Purchasing Cooperative bid process. For reuse disposal the City will pay the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County “not to exceed the amounts of $83,300 for capital costs; $1,000,000 for operations and maintenance; and $40,000 in recycling transfer fees.”

… that a couple of changes have been approved for the inspection process of the 1934 reservoir and the 1948 settling basins at the water treatment plant setting the City back another $20,000 and extending the completion date to Dec. 31.

… that the City will apply for another CMAQ (Congestions Mitigation and Air Quality program) grant to put in protected bike lanes from Howard to Church. The construction cost is estimated at $600,000, and the grant (if approved for the City) might cover up to 80 percent of that – $480,000. The remaining amount – the local 20 percent – would be budgeted in next year’s capital improvement program, according to the City.

… that the City will sell three of its decrepit vehicles at public auction in March through Obenauf Auctioneers Service of Round Lake: a Chevy Blazer and a Ford F-350 and a Ford F-650, all in “very poor” condition.

… that, as many readers already know, the Starbucks at 1726 Sherman Avenue is expanding and relocating to the four vacant spaces at 1734 Sherman Ave., nearly doubling its size. Most things will remain the same – hours of operation will still be 5 a.m. – midnight daily. According to the City, Starbucks anticipates the same number of customers, between 900 and 1,000 each day, and it will have seating for “up to 78 patrons at one time. The projected carry-out business will remain the same, which is estimated at 85%.”

… that volunteers are again asked to help remove invasive species – this time honeysuckle as well as buckthorn – from Perkins Woods on Feb. 9. Forest Preserve District ecologist John Raudenbush estimates that volunteers saved the District more than the 5K it would have cost if District contractors had performed the same amount of work.

… that Central Street has been only partly resurfaced because the City ran out of asphalt (and probably, good weather). According to a newsletter from Sixth Ward Alderman Mark Tendam, “Concrete patching and temporary street and sidewalk restoration for the water main trench was completed at the end of November.” This winter the City’s engineering staff are completing construction plans for Central Street resurfacing, with construction planned for April or May, weather permitting. The newsletter also reports, “Safety, handicap and other improvements to the south sidewalk between Ewing and Lincolnwood were completed in mid-November. Similar improvements are planned for next summer for the north side of the street.” Business owners and residents will be able to suggest street furniture, such as benches, bike racks and cans for garbage and recycling.

… that everyone who thought 2012 was a weather-palooza year is right. According to an updated interactive extreme weather mapping tool and a year-end review released by the Natural Resources Defense Council, “at least 151 record-breaking extreme weather records were set in Illinois in 2012. Nationwide, 3,527 monthly weather records for heat, rain and snow were broken by extreme weather events that hit communities throughout the U.S.” With 29 percent, Illinois ranked fourth among states showing the “highest percentage with new heat records,” trailing Tennessee (36 percent), Wisconsin (31 percent) and Minnesota (30 percent). In 2012, Illinois experienced record-breaking heat in 45 counties with a total of 113 new heat records; record-breaking rainfall in
24 counties with a total of 36 new rainfall records; record-breaking snow in two counties with a total of two new snow records; and one large wildfire.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

…that it’s good that First Ward Alderman Judy Fiske has proposed a Nationwide competition to replace the current fountain within the next two years.

Although the mechanics were upgraded after being damaged in 2006 by a freeze that caused flooding, not much else was upgraded underground, such as the piping or the electrical circuitry. A new frequency drive with programming (to tailor the water spouts to weather and wind, etc.) would cost about $3,000.

It’s not news that the fountain is tatty. Maybe making it pretty again could be the City’s gift to the community for the sesquicentennial.

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