Council sinks marina proposal
By Bob Seidenberg
Evanston Review (IL)
Published October 28th, 2004
A two-year citizen effort against building a marina in
southeast Evanston paid off Monday as City Council members
voted to drop further study of the plan.
Aldermen officially endorsed the recommendation of the
City Council's Human Services Committee which had recommended
against the proposal unanimously.
At both the committee level and at the council, aldermen
focused mainly on the financial side of the issue. They
questioned the risk the city would be taking in moving
forward on the estimated $21 million project - and the
uncertainty on the revenue end.
Alderman Edmund B. Moran Jr., 6th Ward, the lone council
member to urge the city to proceed, argued that only by
moving ahead could the city get answers to the various
"It's not disrespectful to the lake. It allows us
another manner in which we could enjoy the lake,"
said Moran, who also backed efforts to join with Chicago
to coordinate lakefront planning.
Others, however, cited the financial risks involved.
Alderman Melissa A. Wynne, in whose 3rd Ward the marina
would be located, said the project's next phase could
cost the city as much as $400,000.
"That, by my estimation, is two park renovations
or one large park renovation," she said.
She said the $21 million price tag that the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers placed on the project was, in that
agency's own term, "speculative."
Moreover, residents also have opposed the project, she
Wynne spoke in support of the establishment of a task
force that would explore future lakefront development,
and make recommendations on future use of the area.
If Chicago proceeds with a Lake Shore Drive expansion,
extending the drive to Evanston's southern border, "some
of us may be wanting to move to the 6th Ward if that happens,"
she told Moran.
Members of the group called Citizens for Lakefront Preservation
broke into applause and exchanged hugs when council members
voted 8-1 against pursuing further study of the issue.
The group had long argued that a marina would cause pollution,
create parking and traffic congestion, and hurt that area's
quality of life.
"For us it wasn't about the money," said Ramona
Meher, president of the group, on Tuesday. "It was
about keeping Lake Michigan open and free and clear. And
we're delighted with the fact that a task force will be
formed ... to look at a long-term plan to keep the lake's
access to the public."
Members of Meher's group sponsored a community forum,
put out fliers, established a Web site and built coalitions
with other citizen groups, including those in Rogers Park
also opposed to the plan.
"I think the process needs to be re-evaluated -
how to get community input before you spend a $100,000
on something the community clearly doesn't want,"