History of Harley Clarke Mansion
Located adjacent to the Grosse Pointe Lighthouse and Lighthouse Beach in the northeast corner of Evanston, the Harley Clarke Mansion is a historic English Tudor mansion. The City of Evanston purchased the property from the Sigma Chi National Fraternity in 1965 as part of the development of the Lighthouse Landing Park. The mansion was originally a private residence, but had served as the fraternity’s national headquarters from 1951-1965. The City of Evanston leased the building to the Evanston Arts Center from the late 1960s until 2015, when the property began to require more maintenance than either the City or the Art Center was able to fund. The Evanston Arts Center moved to a new location on Central Street and the property was closed. The City of Evanston reviewed responses to a Request for Proposal to lease the property to a not-for-profit organization. After the proposal was denied by City Council, the Evanston Lighthouse Dunes group submitted a request to donate funds to demolish the Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House and restore the dunes. The Preservation Commission denied this proposal. A new Request for Proposal is being drafted and will return April 15, 2019 for Council approval.
Inquiries can be directed to Assistant City Manager, Erika Storlie (email@example.com).
Memorandum of Understanding with Evanston Lighthouse Dunes
On June 18, 2018, City Council considered Resolution 43-R-18, authorizing the City Manager to meet with the Evanston Lighthouse Dunes organization to negotiate on the costs associated with the restoration of the dunes and gardens and demolition of the Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House. The Resolution was approved 6-3.
On July 23, 2018, City Council considered Resolution 51-R-18, authorizing the City Manager to execute a funding agreement with the citizens' group known as the Evanston Lighthouse Dunes to pay for costs associated with demolition of the Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House, grading the property and site restoration. The Resolution was approved 5-3. The City and Evanston Lighthouse Dunes drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding funding for the costs associated with the restoration of the dunes and demolition of the Mansion and Coach House. The MOU was signed on August 27, 2018.
On August 31, 2018, The City of Evanston filed a Certificate of Appropriateness, that was heard at the Preservation Commission in October 2018. On October 23, 2018, the Preservation Commission voted 9-0 to deny the Certificate of Appropriateness that was filed on August 31, 2018. On November 13, the Commission approved its findings. The applicant, following a denial of a certificate of appropriateness by the Commission, may, within 30 days of the denial apply for appeal to the Planning and Development Committee. The deadline is November 21, 2018 (actual deadline, November 22, is Thanksgiving). A Notice of Appeal from Evanston Preservation Commission's Decision was filed November 20, 2018. On December 10 City Council voted unanimously (9-0 vote) to deny the request to hear the appeal.
The Evanston Lighthouse Dunes has 60 days (from the date of the signing of the MOU on August 27, 2018) to submit $400,000 to the City of Evanston. The donors were able to raise $401,390 by the due date.
|1965||City of Evanston purchases property from Sigma Chi Fraternity|
|1965-2015||City leases property to Evanston Arts Center|
|July 2011||City Council directed City Staff to identify other possible uses|
|May 2012||Staff distributed a Request for Interest|
|July 2013||Council rejects the one RFP received to turn property into hotel|
|End of 2013 through 2015||Illinois Department of Natural Resources tried to negotiate about purchase of property|
|January 2015||Citizens Committee was formed to study uses for the mansion|
|June 2015||Committee presented report to City Council|
|October 2015||City Council requested to discontinue proposal discussions|
|September 2016||City Council approves proposal for City to keep property and allocate $250,000 for improvements|
|November 2016||Harley Clarke Planning Committee was formed to discuss next steps|
|June 2017||Request from committee to lease to Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens (denied); request was amended to send out a Request for Proposal for other not-for-profit organizations that may be interested in leasing|
|August 2017||RFPs Issued Seeking Qualified Non-Profit Entity to Lease the Harley Clarke Mansion|
|November 2017||Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens response to the RFP was approved by Council|
|March 2018||Ordinance 42-O-18 authorizing Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens lease was approved for Introduction by Council|
|April 2018||Ordinance 42-O-18 failed 7-2 for Action|
|June 2018||Resolution 43-R-18 approved 6-3 for Action|
|July 2018||Resolution 51-R-18 approved 5-3 for Action|
|August 2018||Memorandum of Understanding with Evanston Lighthouse Dunes|
|October 2018||Preservation Commission votes 9-0 to deny Certificate of Appropriateness|
|November 2018||Preservation Commission Findings. Attachments can be found in the October 23 Preservation Commission meeting agenda.|
|November 2018||Notice of Appeal from Evanston Preservation Commission's Decision|
|December 2018||Request to hear the appeal was denied 9-0|
|March 2019||Discussion on next steps for the Mansion. Request was made to return April 15, 2019 with a new RFP.|
Request for Proposal with Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens
The City of Evanston requested proposals to enter into a long-term lease with a non-profit organization that will invest in and renovate the Harley Clarke Mansion to create a high quality public use for the space consistent with the 2008 Lakefront Master Plan. The City received one response from Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens. City Council approved the response on November 13, 2017. City Council directed City Staff to move forward with lease negotiations. The proposed lease (Ordinance 42-O-18) was approved for Introduction at the March 12, 2018 City Council, but failed 7-2 for Action on April 9, 2018.
- Request for Proposal - RFP, Addendum 1, Addendum 2
- Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens Response - ELHG Response
- Ordinance 42-O-18, Lease of City-Owned property located at 2603 Sheridan Road to ELHG
Harley Clarke Planning Committee - Inactive
The Harley Clarke Planning Committee was formed in November of 2016 and discussed the planning for the future of the Harley Clarke Mansion. The Committee recommended a lease of the property to Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens at the City Council meeting of June 26, 2017. This recommendation was not approved. The committee is not currently active.
Committee page, Agendas and Minutes
Harley Clarke Citizens' Committee - Inactive
The mission of the Harley Clarke Citizens’ Committee was to identify, develop, and evaluate the viability of options in the context of the criteria developed by the Committee. The Committee unanimously agreed to not consider any option in which the beach or access to the beach does not remain publicly owned. The committee is not currently active.
The Committee solicited public input in four ways – (1) through a City established email, (2) 30 minutes of public comment at the beginning the second meeting, held on February 26, 2015, (3) a public comment period at the end of all subsequent meetings in which options are evaluated, and (4) through a public workshop held on Monday, May 18, 2015. The Committee made its final report to City Council on June 8, 2015; City Council discussed the issue in September. The Harley Clarke Committee's report to City Council can be viewed below.