Work on the Top 10 Ideas for the Future Begins
300 community members, many dressed in formal wear with jeans, turned out for Evanston150′s Nov. 10 Black Tie and Blue Jean Party at the Levy Senior Center located at 300 Dodge Avenue, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the 10 visionary ideas that were the result of the project, and to hand them off to the community for implementation. Serving as master of ceremonies was acclaimed storyteller and Northwestern University Theater Professor Rives Collins. The festivities kicked off with jazz music by the Stuart Rosenberg Band, and refreshments provided by local restaurants Andy’s Frozen Custard, Dave’s Italian Kitchen, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Tiny Dog Cupcake and Whole Foods. The Natural Trumpet Ensemble of the Music Institute of Chicago heralded the beginning of the presentation portion of the evening.
During the presentation emcee Rives Collins said, “As a storyteller, I am very pleased to be here tonight to help the Evanston community convey the story of who we are and what we aspire to accomplish for our future. The purpose of these big ideas is not only to punctuate an anniversary but to positively impact our community for many years to come. Starting right here and now, these 10 ideas will be transformed into 10 projects that will truly shape the stories Evanston will tell about itself for generations.”
Actors from Evanston’s Piccolo Theatre and the Music Institute of Chicago trumpeters accompanied the 10 presenter pairs, comprised of a Steering Committee member and a Funding Sponsor, who guided by the cheers and shouts of youngsters in the audience, selected one of the 10 colorfully packaged toolboxes from the stage to unwrap and present to the community. The Piccolo Commedia Dell’ Arte actors carried the toolboxes with signage to one of the round idea tables at which community groups would be asked to gather and begin work later in the evening.
Download the List of Ten Ideas. The 10 Ideas, in no particular order, are as follows:
THE MORE YOU KNOW: CITY OF INFORMATION
Establish fully functional neighborhood literacy centers in geographically different areas of Evanston. In addition to providing conventional library services and events, these facilities will promote community learning with a focus on technology. This project will also establish free wi-fi city-wide in order for residents to have access to information everywhere!
HERE’S TO OUR HEALTH
Establish a community health center to provide high quality and affordable medical, dental, and preventive care for all, regardless of ability to pay, for those who are uninsured and underinsured. The center will provide laboratory and x-ray services, patient case management, pharmacy services, translation and transportation assistance.
Develop sustainable local food sources by creating urban farms, community gardens, greenhouses, and composting sites. Through these sites, provide educational opportunities for individuals to expand their knowledge of nutrition, growing food, and composting. Incorporate a long-term commitment to development and preservation of open green spaces in the urban environment.
WALK ‘N ROLL EVANSTON
Commit to safety and enjoyment for pedestrians and bicyclists in Evanston. Create more bike lanes and walking paths, educate drivers and bikers about their use, add borrow-a-bike stations throughout the city. Provide more locations to lock and store bikes, add fountains to beautify existing paths, and designate certain streets or blocks as car-free. Transform certain areas, including converting Mayfair Rail Spur, into a pedestrian and bikeway, extending the bike path connecting Rogers Park and Evanston, and connecting the lakefront path with the canal path.
GREEN AND CLEAN
Make Evanston one of the greenest cities in the United States. Become carbon neutral, conserve water, and create sustainable sources of energy. Balance carbon released with an equivalent amount absorbed through planting trees and vegetation. Promote responsible water use and conservation by installing rain gardens, green roofs, and permeable pavement. Research and develop renewable energy sources while simultaneously increasing energy efficiency in existing buildings.
Create a world-class youth development center focusing on appropriate opportunities for holistic growth. Provide a positive youth development space for activities such as career counseling, tutoring, job training, financial literacy, apprenticeship programs, technology, and exploration. Include volunteer and internship opportunities. Encourage leadership development through physical, social, artistic, and cultural activities, such as the implementation of Il Sistema, a children’s music education program. Provide community gathering and recreational spaces.
LEARN TO WORK AND WORK TO LEARN
Develop a vocational/co-op technical school serving a diverse population of students and residents. The school will integrate classroom study with practical work experience, providing training that connects to opportunities for employment in Evanston and the surrounding region.
A MARKET FOR ALL SEASONS AND REASONS
Establish a year-round indoor/outdoor community market as the centerpiece of a revitalized public space. This market will connect our community with local farmers and artisans, strengthening our local economy, and will serve as a vibrant community gathering place. Its essence is two-fold: to energize our public spaces, and retain dollars within our community.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Ensure that ALL Evanston residents have access to water recreation by providing free beach access, building a state-of-the-art green technology, outdoor water pool/water park. Develop Evanston’s canal as a “second coast” space by cleaning and enhancing the waterway for more recreational activities. Teach all children to swim.
LITTLE AND LEARNING
Provide the foundation for success in school through high-quality affordable, universal preschool experiences for 3 and 4-year olds so that all Evanston children are ready for kindergarten and prepared for success later in life.
Steering Committee member Sara Schastok thanked the sponsors whose funding support engaged Evanston in imagining its future. “And we know Evanston has responded,” said Schastok. “Over the past eight months, Evanston150 has had 6,400 unique website visitors, 2,200 e-mail list sign ups, and 2,060 attendees at events and brainstorming sessions. An additional 122 partner organizations and volunteers helped spread the word and staff events.”
Steering Committee member Jay Lytle concluded the presentation saying, “Okay! Now it’s blue jeans time. It’s time to get down to work. Pick the idea of your choice. The Steering Committee has two goals, to take on these ideas and see them done or underway by 2013, and in the process to see us all find new friends within our common causes. Find your table and let’s make this happen!”
Community members who were unable to attend the Nov. 10 event can still get involved. Check back soon on the website for contact information for the 10 idea groups.
Evanston150 and the Evanston Community Foundation will present a Get to Work Workshop Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 from 9:30 am – 12:30pm at the Evanston Public Library focused on team building and getting to work on making the ideas a reality. Northwestern professor and leadership expert Paul Arntson will kick off the morning.