Harley Clarke Timeline

City Council Meeting Tonight

Timeline of the Harley Clarke “Saga”


City leases property to Evanston Arts Center

July 2011

City Council directs City Staff to identify other possible uses for the property

May 15, 2012

City Staff seeks parties interested in either purchasing or leasing the mansion and coach house

City receives 4 Statements of Interests, and distributes Requests for Proposal (RFP) to each respondent

One of the four respondents submits an RFP, seeking to purchase and renovate the property for use as a hotel

July 22, 2013

In response to resident concerns about traffic and preservation of public beach access, City Council votes to reject the hotel proposal

October 18, 2013 Illinois Coastal Education Center Proposal

Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) proposes purchase of property and land to establish a public education center. Negotiations continue until January 2015

August 5, 2014 Appraisal

Appraises value of mansion and carriage house (without underlying land,and assuming easements for access, parking, use of grounds and use of maintenance) at $1.8M

Estimates $1.4M to $2.3M for renovations and repair of mansion and $400,000 for carriage house

January 5, 2015

IDNR ends negotiations, declining City’s offer of ownership of property, but not the land

January 26, 2015

Harley Clarke Citizens’ Advisory Committee, is appointed to identify, develop and evaluate uses for the property.

June 8, 2015 Citizens’ Committee Report to Council

Citizens Committee reports results of resident survey:

  • 67% support renovation and preservation of property for public use
  • 19% support property’s sale for commercial use
  • 12% support demolition & redevelopment of site into park land
  • 2% support sale & redevelopment into residential zoning

Steve Hagerty, the Committee’s chair, submits his recommendation for the City to sell the building and land for renovation as a publicly accessible commercial use, such as a boutique hotel, event space, and restaurant.

September 23, 2015

Hagerty proposes Council:

  1. Gift the property to a qualified private nonprofit or foundation
  2. And if none found, seek proposals from the private sector
  3. And if none found, demolish the mansion, salvaging possible parts

October 2015

City staff requests Council provide direction for property use.

Council directs discussions on the property be postponed until after the state’s budget agreement.

December 2015

Evanston Lake House and Gardens (ELHG) incorporates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to preserve and restore the property and gardens into a financially sustainable community space in line with the City’s Lakefront Master Plan

April 30, 2016

Landmarks Illinois announces Harley Clarke 4th Most Endangered Historic Properties in Illinois

September 12, 2016

Council unanimously approves proposal for the City to own and operate the facility, using it for City-sponsored summer recreation programming and activities

It allocates $250,000 (from proposed $500,000) for immediate improvements

November 16, 2016
First meeting of the Harley Clarke Planning Committee, chaired by Ald. Revelle of the 7th Ward

Committee reviews staff’s analysis of minimum cost to bring the building up to code for programming use, an estimated $660,000, noting the insufficiency of the City’s allocated $250,000 for minimum repairs

June 26, 2017
Overrule of Lease Proposal

Parks & Recreation Board and Lighthouse Landing Complex Committee recommend Council authorize negotiation of long-term lease agreement with Evanston Lake House and Gardens to operate an environmental education center and meeting/event space at the Harley Clarke property, reserving $250,000 originally allocated by the City for repairs

Council overrules original motion on lease, substituting an amended motion to draft of a second round of Requests for Proposal (RFP) for the property’s lease. Amended motion passes 7-2

August 2017

City issues second-round of RFPs, this time seeking nonprofit to lease property. Yields one qualified response, the above-mentioned Evanston Lake House and Gardens

November 13, 2017

Council votes 8-1 for staff to draft 40-year-lease of property to Lake House and Gardens, allowing a 36-month fundraising period

March 6, 2018

Staff submits for Council consideration adoption of Ordinance 42-O-18, authorizing the City Manager to execute a 40-year lease of property with Evanston Lake House and Gardens (ELHG). ELHG will be required to raise $2 million in funding over three years and then make code-related improvements to the mansion, opening the property for public use by May 2023

March 12, 2018

Introduction of 40-year lease to Evanston Lake House and Gardens is approved 6-1. Final vote is scheduled for April 9

April 9, 2018

Special Order of Business
Staff submits consideration for final authorization of Lease to ELHG

Lease is revised to require ELHG raise $5M within the first 10 years, in addition to the original 3-year fundraising benchmarks and code-related improvements

Motion failed for Action 7-2

July 23, 2018

City Council votes 5-3 to authorize a Memorandum of Understanding with Evanston Lighthouse Dunes group to demolish Harley Clarke buildings. Alds Suffredin, Wynne and Revelle dissenting.

August 31, 2018

City submits an application to demolish to the Evanston Preservation Commission

October 23, 2018

Evanston Preservation Commission denies City’s application to demolish Harley Clarke, finding it did not meet any applicable standards for demotion, and noting discrepancies in application.

December 10, 2018

City Council votes 9-0 not to appeal Preservation Committee’s decision.

Leave a Comment