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City council discusses medical development

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 2nd, 2012

City news

EVANSTON — Mayor Joy Bell and the Evanston City Council discussed in some depth the ongoing contract negotiations with High Country Behavioral Health, which the city hopes will be the anchor of a planned business development at Yellow Creek and Overthrust in south Evanston. High Country has committed $1 million to the proposed $2.4 million project.

Bell told councilors a newly-revised version of the proposed contract had been presented to the High Country board Sept. 24. She said the proposed changes were as far as the city could go on the negotiations.

“This is it. This is all we can do, period,” Bell said. “If we can’t do this with them, we don’t have a deal with them. So…[they] understand clearly that this is as far as I’m willing to push the envelope. That doesn’t mean you guys are going to be OK with as far as the envelopes pushed, so you need to look at it and think about if that’s where we want to go.”

Bell cited some concerns on the part of High Country to move forward due to the recent loss of a government contract.

“I think they’re hesitant because of the loss of the state contract,” Bell said when asked about the motivation behind the changes. “I can understand their hesitancy.”

Bell said she planned to contact the state Department of Behavioral Health to get answers to questions she had regarding the state contract, among other subjects.

“We need to have some information if we’re going to enter into a partnership and contract with them,” Bell said.

Other council business

• City engineer Brian Honey told the council about a request from a property owner for the city to vacate a drainage easement on a lot at the end of Center Street. Honey said the family wants to build a house on the property, but the location of a slope near the edge of the Purple Sage Golf Course makes such a construction project only feasible in the area the city had reserved for potential drainage.

Honey said the detention basin can be shifted into an adjoining area to meet the city’s needs and accommodate the property owner.

Honey noted they also received notice another buyer was also wanting to build a home on property adjoining the first lot.

The matter will likely be discussed at the Oct. 2 regular city council session.

• Honey also discussed the progress of new sidewalks being constructed as a part of the “Safe Routes to School Sidewalk Project.” He said the contractor is about 95 percent done with the work.

The council discussed the possibility of seeking liquidated damages once the project is completed, since the contractor is running well behind schedule. As of the Sept. 25 meeting, work was unfinished between Main and Front streets, mainly on Third, as well as other areas that need to be finished or have retaining wall work done.

• The council discussed the proposed Red Canyon Village PUD second addition, to be located near Evanston High School, along Cheyenne Drive. City planner Paul Knopf told the council the developer has made some adjustments to the planned unit development to reduce its overall footprint and allow for additional amenity features.

The addition would add 34 town homes to the existing 16 at the site. An amended plat for the development is expected to be presented at the Oct. 16 council meeting.

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