Our Town

City of Evanston, Illinois

Evanston, Illinois



Although just ten miles north of Chicago, Evanston has a vibrant culture all its own. This city of 74,500 is perhaps best known as the home of Northwestern University, which serves as the area's biggest employer.

With support from its Our Town grant, the city is launching an architectural study and financial plan for a performing arts and community center in downtown Evanston. The study and plan will propose potential scenarios for the rehabilitation, development, and programming of multiple sites, including the Varsity Theater, a former movie palace. The City of Evanston, Downtown Evanston, Varsity LLC, the Second Baptist Church, Northwestern University and other partners will work together to determine how best to realize their vision for a facility that will enable Evanston to retain local theater, dance, and music companies that have outgrown their original venues. Results of this project will inform the center's design and eventual construction.