1. The Library will Finally Be Autonomous
More than 18 months after the Evanston Public Library’s Board of Trustees , the City Council will likely finally empower the board at Monday night’s meeting. The library board’s newfound authority will give it the ability to create and approve its final budget, set a library property tax levy to fund its operations and appoint a library director.
The board was originally scheduled to make the change to the new model at the end of 2012, but in favor of a more gradual transfer of power after the board determined it still had to hammer out the financial details of the transition. To assist in this process, the proposed city ordinance would also create a joint committee comprising library board members, aldermen, the library director and the city manager.
A previous agreement between the city and library board stated that the City Council would have to consider an ordinance that would transfer power by Feb. 27, 2012.
The library board is currently nearing the end of a several-month search for a new library director that began shortly after .
2. Evanston’s Not-So-Micro Brewery
FEW Spirits, , will be able to increase its annual output if the City Council approves an ordinance that would up the quantity of alcohol permitted for on-site production and storage to 15,000 gallons per year, three times the amount allowed under the current law. In August 2011, the Illinois General Assembly passed an amendment to increase the yearly amount of alcohol a craft distiller could legally manufacture, and the city’s new law would simply make the same change. FEW Spirits owner Paul Hletko requested the city make the change during a Jan. 25 Liquor Control Boar meeting, and, according to Monday’s City Council packet, the board raised no concerns and recommended the amendment.
3. A More Eco-Friendly Transportation/Parking Committee
If passed, a new resolution would add a member of the city’s Environment Board as a voting member of the Transportation/Parking committee. According to its bylaws, “the purpose of the Environment Board is to investigate all activities that affect the environment: air pollution, litter, water, noise pollution, solid waste pollution, overpopulation and pesticides.”
4. Piven Theater to Make $2.5 Million in Improvements to Noyes Cultural Arts Center
A new memorandum of understanding with the City of Evanston would consolidate Piven Theater’s space in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center to all floors in the south one-third of the building and provide them with a long-term lease. In exchange, the theater company would promise to make $2.5 million in capital improvements to the building. Evanston’s city manager is asking permission to negotiate an official agreement.
5. What will Happen to the Harley Clarke Mansion?
The Harley Clark Mansion is the large building that sits directly underneath the north side of Evanston’s famed Grosse Point Lighthouse. The building has long been the home to the Evanston Arts Center, but the organization is set to move in the near future, as it is looking to expand and has been unable to make necessary repairs to the historic mansion. The city manager is requesting permission to continue working to find a new home for the Evanston Arts Center, as well as solicit proposals for potential new uses of the soon-to-be-vacant mansion.