Evanston Land Use Commission voted 6-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 12 to recommend a that city officials call for the demolishing of the existing one-story animal shelter at 2222-2310 Oakton St. and constructing a new one-story shelter with approximately 8,810 square feet of ground floor area.
The proposal next goes to the full City Council.
Shane Cary, an architect with the City’s public works department, represented the project for the deliberations.
The site, located at the northwest corner of James Park, was developed as a dog pound in the 1980s, but ultimately came to shelter both dogs and cats. It is currently operated by the Evanston Animal Shelter Association.
The shelter has four employees, and prior to the pandemic, had about 175 volunteers. The site shelters about 300 dogs and 275 cats per year. It welcomes about two dozen public visitors weekly.
The current animal shelter is not up to code with many safety specifications, hence the City’s interest in its replacement. The site is made up of two lots, the other of which is the location of the Recycling Center. No changes are planned for that lot.
The new site would allow the driveways for the shelter and the Recycling Center to be combined, thus allowing for fewer curb-cuts along Oakton Street. A stoplight would be located at the driveway.
“It’s generally a very cluttered site,” Cary said of the location, noting that it would require a great deal of environmental remediation. Poor soil and nuisance trees are among the matters site developers must attend to.
Commissioners were largely encouraging about the proposal.
Commission Chair Matt Rodgers said that the old shelter was “several decades old and no longer fits the purpose for which it was was created.”
Added Commissioner Jeanne Lindwall, “It’s long overdue.”