On Monday, September 12, the Evanston City Council approved next steps for the Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House, located at 2603 Sheridan Rd., in Evanston.
The Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House (“property") will be owned and operated by the City of Evanston.
The City Council allocates in the Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2017 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) a total of $250,000 for immediate improvements at the property. The City Manager is authorized to expend these funds for critical repairs to the property.
The City Manager is directed to use the property in 2017 for City-sponsored summer recreation activities only. This will include programs currently using the “Fog Houses” and similar activities. No additional staff will be allocated in Fiscal Year 2017 for these uses.
The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Board and Lighthouse Landing Complex Committee, working with the City Manager and appropriate staff, are directed to develop a plan for the future operation of the property beginning in 2018. This plan will include identifying community groups and non-profit organizations that may wish to use the property. The City will also identify additional program uses and associated costs for the property. The plan shall also review and include recommendations to ensure better access to the property through transit, biking, shuttles and other methods. The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Board and Lighthouse Landing Committee will return to the City Council with recommendations no later than July 1, 2017.
Upon City Council approval of the property's operational plan and available budget allocations, the property would be regularly open to the public beginning in 2018.
The City will establish a Harley Clarke Mansion account within the Evanston Parks Foundation to receive donations to support the improvements of the property.
More than forty-five people spoke during Citizen Comment. Almost all of the speakers spoke in support of keeping the building, land or both PUBLIC, not private.
At the end of the meeting the Council voted to accept the report of the Harley Clarke Citizens’ Committee and put off any further discussion of the future of Harley Clarke until September.
Please keep the yard signs up to continue to send our aldermen the message that our parkland must not be privatized. If you would like a yard sign, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will deliver it to your lawn.
We will keep you informed here as events unfold.
Thank you for your support and strong commitment to keeping our public parkland PBULIC for all Evanstonians.