The Evanston Land Use Commission voted 6-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 12 to recommend that city officials request the demolition of the existing one-story animal shelter at 2222-2310 Oakton St. and the construction of a new one-story shelter with approximately 8,810 square feet of ground floor space.
The proposal is then submitted to the full municipal council.
Shane Cary, an architect with the city’s public works department, represented the project during the deliberations.
The site, located on the northwest corner of James Park, was set up as a dog pound in the 1980s but ended up being home to dogs and cats. It is currently operated by the Evanston Animal Shelter Association.
The shelter has four staff and, before the pandemic, had about 175 volunteers. The site houses approximately 300 dogs and 275 cats per year. It hosts about two dozen public visitors a week.
The current animal shelter is not up to code with many safety specifications, hence the City’s interest in replacing it. The site is made up of two lots, the other of which is the location of the Recycling Center. No changes are planned for this batch.
The new site would combine the lanes of the shelter and the recycling center, which would reduce the number of curbs along Oakton Street. A red light would be located at the driveway.
“It’s usually a very crowded site,” Cary said of the location, noting that it would need a lot of environmental remediation. Poor soils and weedy trees are some of the issues that site developers have to deal with.
Commissioners widely encouraged the proposal.
Commission Chairman Matt Rodgers said the old shelter was “several decades old and no longer serves the purpose for which it was created”.
Commissioner Jeanne Lindwall added: “This is long overdue.