SEA History

During the latter part of 1959, a group of residents in the First and Third wards met to discuss and finally oppose a plan to change the west side of Chicago Avenue from commercial to manufacturing.

It soon developed that other measures under consideration in the Evanston City Council might be affected by positive and well-organized group action. As a result, The Southeast Evanston Association was formed in 1960 to represent the interests of the residents of that area. Those interests included zoning, land use, and historical and environmental preservation.

The need for citizen involvement has never been greater as we face today's increasing challenge of balancing economic growth with the desires and needs of our residential community.

1950s

A group of concerned residents in Evanston’s 1st and 3rd wards organized to oppose a plan to change the west side of Chicago Avenue from commercial to manufacturing. Take a stroll down Chicago Avenue today to admire the results of their successful advocacy.

1960s   SEA worked to defeat a proposal to construct a massive above-ground metal water storage tank in southeast Evanston to improve water pressure. SEA and others opposed the structure, which would have detracted from the natural beauty of the area.

1960s

SEA worked to defeat a proposal to construct a massive above-ground metal water storage tank in southeast Evanston to improve water pressure. SEA and others opposed the structure, which would have detracted from the natural beauty of the area.

1970s   City traffic engineers proposed widening Forest Avenue to four lanes, calling for the removal of the mature elm trees that lined the avenue from Main Street to Northwestern University. SEA successfully organized residents to overturn the proposal so that the natural and architectural integrity of the area was ultimately preserved.

1970s

City traffic engineers proposed widening Forest Avenue to four lanes, calling for the removal of the mature elm trees that lined the avenue from Main Street to Northwestern University. SEA successfully organized residents to overturn the proposal so that the natural and architectural integrity of the area was ultimately preserved.


1980s   The city began to organize large events and fairs on Evanston’s beautiful lakefront, forcing local residents to find other places to relax and recreate. In one instance, 20,000 people were bussed in, filling the park with loud music and crowds. SEA raised awareness of the need to establish policies to ensure the lakefront remains a place for people to enjoy in a variety of ways.

1980s

The city began to organize large events and fairs on Evanston’s beautiful lakefront, forcing local residents to find other places to relax and recreate. In one instance, 20,000 people were bussed in, filling the park with loud music and crowds. SEA raised awareness of the need to establish policies to ensure the lakefront remains a place for people to enjoy in a variety of ways.

1990s   The original plans for the Park Evanston Apartments called for a pair of 315-foot towers to be built at 1620 Chicago Avenue that were inconsistent with the scale of the other buildings and would have dominated the landscape and added traffic to a busy area. SEA worked tirelessly to show why such a massive development was not in Evanston’s best interest. As a result, only one 70-foot building was constructed in 1997.

1990s

The original plans for the Park Evanston Apartments called for a pair of 315-foot towers to be built at 1620 Chicago Avenue that were inconsistent with the scale of the other buildings and would have dominated the landscape and added traffic to a busy area. SEA worked tirelessly to show why such a massive development was not in Evanston’s best interest. As a result, only one 70-foot building was constructed in 1997.


1990s   SEA’s strong advocacy for the Evanston Preservation Ordinance resulted in the establishment of four Federal Historic Landmark Districts in the city. As such, these areas are exempt from teardowns and subdivisions. Since the adoption of the ordinance, many beautiful and historic properties within these neighborhoods have been protected.

1990s

SEA’s strong advocacy for the Evanston Preservation Ordinance resulted in the establishment of four Federal Historic Landmark Districts in the city. As such, these areas are exempt from teardowns and subdivisions. Since the adoption of the ordinance, many beautiful and historic properties within these neighborhoods have been protected.

2006   A Lakefront Visioning Process brought together a broad range of residents and associations in order to reach a consensus about the future of Evanston’s lakefront. SEA participated in over 18 months of meetings to represent the interests of southeast Evanston residents.

2006

A Lakefront Visioning Process brought together a broad range of residents and associations in order to reach a consensus about the future of Evanston’s lakefront. SEA participated in over 18 months of meetings to represent the interests of southeast Evanston residents.

2007   SEA provided support and guidance to a group of our neighbors on the 1000 block of Hinman Avenue to successfully oppose a planned seven-story condominium on Chicago Avenue, abutting the Lakeshore Historic District. The project would have overshadowed single-family homes and detracted from the character of the neighborhood.

2007

SEA provided support and guidance to a group of our neighbors on the 1000 block of Hinman Avenue to successfully oppose a planned seven-story condominium on Chicago Avenue, abutting the Lakeshore Historic District. The project would have overshadowed single-family homes and detracted from the character of the neighborhood.


2008   The City Council adopted a Lakefront Master Plan that reflected the consensus of participants in a 2006 Lakefront Visioning Process that included SEA members. SEA promotes passive use of the lakefront; no commercialization should be allowed to interfere with residents’ enjoyment of the quiet beauty of the lake.  SEA and other concerned citizens of Evanston aggressively contested plans to construct a 49-story, mixed-use high-rise at 708 Church Street. The plans were eventually abandoned due to the faltering economy. If the plans are ever resurrected, we’ll be ready to get involved.

2008

The City Council adopted a Lakefront Master Plan that reflected the consensus of participants in a 2006 Lakefront Visioning Process that included SEA members. SEA promotes passive use of the lakefront; no commercialization should be allowed to interfere with residents’ enjoyment of the quiet beauty of the lake.

SEA and other concerned citizens of Evanston aggressively contested plans to construct a 49-story, mixed-use high-rise at 708 Church Street. The plans were eventually abandoned due to the faltering economy. If the plans are ever resurrected, we’ll be ready to get involved.

2013   In cooperation with the Evanston Public Works and Forestry departments, SEA planted a tree in each of the city’s nine wards, and was recognized by the City Council for “helping to make Evanston a naturally beautiful place to be enjoyed for generations to come.”

2013

In cooperation with the Evanston Public Works and Forestry departments, SEA planted a tree in each of the city’s nine wards, and was recognized by the City Council for “helping to make Evanston a naturally beautiful place to be enjoyed for generations to come.”