Well over 500 people attended Evanston 150’s Community Kick-Off Rally on Saturday afternoon, exceeding the group’s expectations and marking a successful beginning for the grassroots planning initiative that aims to generate and implement "10 visionary ideas" for the city’s 150th anniversary in 2013.
Alderman, professionals who work in Evanston, residents and their families all gathered at the rally, held at the Levy Center, to find out more about the planning initiative, submit their proposals for Evanston’s future and partake in free local food provided by participating Evanston restaurants.
“Each one of you represents a neighborhood, a household, or a segment in Evanston that makes us the city that we are, and it is our hope that you will submit your best ideas, your diverse ideas, that will give us a broad picture of who Evanston is,” said Karen Mosby-Avery, member of the 13-person steering committee that planned Saturday’s event and will drive the initiative leading up to 2013.
At the rally, attendees were given "visioning toolkits" to submit their proposals for Evanston’s future. No limitations were put on the scope of the proposals, and ideas circulating at the rally included creating a wind farm off of Evanston’s shoreline, constructing a new indoor soccer field and other youth sports facilities and consolidating local non-profits in order to maximize efficiency in a time of tighter government budgets.
“I think it’s a great process, the way they’re doing this and encouraging people to communicate with each other and brainstorm for ideas,” said Pamela Zbesko, an Evanston resident of 24 years.
“I really love the fact that there are a lot of people from the community that came out today,” said Brian Williams of Evanston Y.O.U (Youth Organizations Umbrella). “The ultimate goal is really impressive; I would love to see all the ideas and I’d like to see how they get brought down to 10.”
The goal of the Evanston 150 initiative will be to accumulate over 2,000 ideas for Evanston’s future by July 31, 2011. The steering committee will also create a selection committee, based on a blind application process, that will filter down the thousands of ideas to 100.
According to Patrick Keenan-Delvin, member of the Evanston 150 Steering Committee, those 100 ideas will then be voted on by the community, assessed for feasibility and financing, and finally reduced to 10 concrete ideas by Nov. 11, 2011.
“The objective of the steering committee will be to ensure implementation of as many of those ideas as possible,” said Keenan-Delvin of the eventual 10 proposals. “Those projects could then serve as the culmination of the 150th celebration of Evanston,” he said.
Residents can submit proposals and apply to be on the selection committee via Evanston 150's website.