It’s been a couple of months since I mentioned that Evanston was to receive about $18 million in government assistance through grants that would take care of some foreclosed and vacant property. Well, now Evanston is working with HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development) to figure out the process to qualify eligible workers and businesses to help with the rehab and development of this property.
There are about 100 housing units considered foreclosures or now vacant that will be part of the rehab project. Brinshore, a Northbrook developer, will assist with the project. Evanston plans to make these units available for rent or possible sale, after a rehab, of course.
So now the city is looking for contractors to work on the units. The government expects that residents of Evanston be used as much as possible. Evanston City code requires that at least 25% of contracts go to Evanston-based contractors, minority-owned, or women-owned. Projects can range anywhere from roofing to painting to HVAC to complete rehabs.
Subcontractors can bid directly on work at the city’s Web site. As work is needed, the city will post the opportunities online. So they’re asking workers to check the site regularly for new opportunities. Workers will need to be licensed and will need to provide information on years in the business, past work, etc.
While some may think that 25% of the work needing to be done by Evanston-based, minority-owned, or women-owned businesses is too much, I think it’s great. Who better to help beautify the city than residents of the city? They’re the ones with the deepest roots here and have much more to gain. It will help bump up employment rates, too.
I am also a fan of the fact that they’re spacing out the bids with new opportunities popping up as needed. This gives everyone a fair shot at bidding on projects, rather than having lost opportunities for those with slower Internet access or busy on a job one day.
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!