February's DMO of the Month is Devoted to Livability
This month we recognize a local Democrat committed to making her city the most livable in the nation. Meet Jane Grover, Alderman from Evanston, Illinois and DMO of the Month for February.
Part of encouraging a town to be more responsive to local government is good communication. Alderman Grover excels at staying in touch with her constituents. The Alderman releases regular e-newsletters to her community, which advertise ward events, highlight extraordinary Ward 7 residents, and profile new businesses. These newsletters encourage community participation, and allow the Alderman to keep her constituents informed and engaged. She is also active on twitter @janegrover. Here she dispels urban myths about Evanston, provides interesting history tidbits, and promotes student events at Northwestern University. Online communication is a fantastic way to stay connected to residents, and reaching out frequently reinforces the image of an open and accessible municipal government
Local initiatives also play a huge role in maintaining a livable Evanston. As an avid biker and runner, Alderman Grover promoted a ban on cell phone use while driving within city limits. This same commitment to safe roadways led Evanston to install protected bike lanes, which secured the city an award from the Active Transportation Alliance. An advocate for public safety in all forms, Grover also advocated for setting up the Safe Routes to School program for students. She even attended the Evanston Citizens Police Academy, gaining an in depth understanding of how her local police force operates. Alderman Grover also penned a two year moratorium on the use of drones within Evanston, citing that technology had outpaced our current ability to address concerns over privacy. The city was the third in the nation to issue such a ban, and copies of the bill were sent to the Illinois State Legislature. Evanston is a fantastic example of cities leading the way on policy.
Promoting sustainability is one of Evanston's hallmarks. For instance, Alderman Grover led the charge on replacing 1250 local exit sign lights with LEDs. These lights reduce the city’s carbon footprint and save money thanks to their longevity and efficiency. Alderman Grover has supported switching the city to an aggregated energy program, which reduces the city’s reliance on fossil fuels and is part of their commitment to renewable energy sources. Evanston is one of thirty cities to pilot the STAR Communities program. STAR rates cities on a variety of metrics, ultimately leading to more livable, sustainable communities. By making these simple changes, Evanston dramatically alters its local impact.
Alderman Jane Grover is clearly committed to improving the quality of life in her ward. She advocates for citizen engagement online, spearheads local projects to make a difference in everyday life, and crafts overarching policy to improve safety and livability. The devotion of Alderman Grover and Evanston’s local government hasn’t gone unnoticed. Evanston has won awards for city livability, government website transparency, and citizen engagement. For these reasons and more, DMO will be hosting their annual Board retreat in Evanston later this year. We applaud Jane Grover on her commitment to Ward 7, and on being named DMO of the Month for February. We want to extend our thanks to Mayor Tisdahl and all of Evanston's municipal officials for hosting the retreat. DMO looks forward to spending time in such an incredible city.
Alderman Grover is a professional attorney, and was first elected Alderman in 2009. As Alderman of Evanston’s 7th Ward, she oversees important parts of the city including Northwestern University and one of the major business districts. She previously acted as Assistant Director of Leadership Evanston for the Evanston Community Foundation. She also served on the Evanston Mental Health Board. Alderman Grover graduated from the University of Michigan, and later achieved a joint degree in law and foreign service from Georgetown. Currently Alderman Grover serves on the Evanston Advisory Board of Community Partners for Affordable Housing. She also sits on NLC’s Information Technology & Communications Steering Committee.