Would you like to see a bowling alley in Evanston?
If you answered yes, you're among good company. More than 100 people so far have signed a petition on Change.org requesting that the owners of Evanston Plaza bring a bowling alley to the shopping center at Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue.
"Evanston needs a bowling alley to bring residents together, to reinvigorate the West Side of town, and to provide a much-needed outlet for the youngest members of our community," writes Patch columnist Christine Wolf, who started the petition.
More than 100 people had signed the petition within the first week on Change.org, saying bowling is a family friendly activity that would bring much-needed life to a shopping plaza with too many vacancies.
"We need more indoor activities for youth and families in Evanston," wrote Evan Girard. "Bowling is something all ages and fitness levels can enjoy."
"We need a bowling alley in Evanston and Dempster Dodge needs life," wrote Dickelle Fonda.
"The high school has bowling teams," Betsy Gutstein pointed out. "It would be great for them to be able to practice in Evanston."
Since city council members approved the enabling ordinances last summer, the Dempster-Dodge shopping plaza has been designated as a tax-increment financing (TIF) district. Chicago-based real estate firm Bonnie Investment Group, LLC, purchased the plaza in December 2011.
The TIF plan approved by aldermen calls for $20 million in tax-increment financing over 23 years, including $3 million in utility improvements, $4 million in parking facilities and landscaping, $4 million in site preparation and demolition, and $4.75 million in rehabilitation of current structures. Council members also earmarked up to $2 million in "short-term redevelopment needs" for Bonnie Investment Group, including utility upgrades and other site work.