AARP grant helps beautify downtown

Main Street Deli owner Stephanie Anderson, right, and her children paint a crosswalk in downtown Evanston as Evanston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tammy Staley works on the other side of the crosswalk. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — Community members will be pleasantly surprised when they venture downtown on Main Street. Four crosswalks between 10th and Main streets have been painted with geometric patterns, designed by local artist Christal Rohan.

The crosswalks were painted on Sunday, April 24, by eight volunteers: Mieke Madrid, Brenda Richins, Stephanie Anderson (and her two daughters, Kylee and Kayla), Tammy Staley, Anahi Escalante and Christal Rohan. All of the painters appeared to be having a good time while contributing their artistic talents to improve the appearance of downtown Evanston.

Also, placed at four locations in downtown Evanston are “swing tables,” with one placed on the corner of the First Bank parking lot; another table at Depot Square; one at the plaza between the Machine Shop and the Roundhouse; and a fourth at the Uinta County Library.

The tables have a metal framework supporting the table, a bench on one side, and two swings on the opposite side. The table is the right height for a wheelchair to be placed at either end. The frame has a sunshield over the top, and it is fitted with a solar conductor at the top of one side bar to power solar lights, which are strung around the top of the frame to enhance evening use.

The swings have a chain below them that restricts movement to a slight sway to prevent injuries. An indoor/outdoor pad will be placed under each table when they become available.

The swing tables and crosswalk project was made possible through a grant from AARP’s (American Association of Retired Persons) Community Challenge program. The program was created to help cities and towns make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress for residents of all ages.

Since the Community Challenge program’s debut in 2017, AARP has awarded $9.3 million through more than 800 grants. 

Evanston Main Street Program Coordinator and grant writer Mieke Madrid submitted the grant application to AARP and told the Herald this was the first time the City of Evanston has received these particular funds.

“The project was completed with the support of the Urban Renewal Agency and the Downtown Evanston-Main Street Program, Stateline Metals and the hard work of the City of Evanston’s talented facilities team of Jesse Hawkins, Brady Odden, Spence Huffaker, Ryker Zuehlsdorff and Preston Sheets, who assembled the swing tables,” Madrid said.

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