Decision Maker Response

Elizabeth Tisdahl’s response

Elizabeth Tisdahl
Mayor

Jun 3, 2013 — Mr. Block:

I have received your petition regarding the sale of the Harley Clarke Mansion. The City Council has discussed the future of the building publicly for the last three years and decided over two years ago to begin a process to examine other uses of the building. The Harley Clarke Mansion has millions of dollars of deferred maintenance and the City does not have the resources to complete a renovation of the building. After a year long public process to receive qualifications and then proposals from potential users, the City is now in preliminary discussions with Tawani Enterprises Inc. regarding its proposal. Those discussions include maintaining complete public access to the grounds and beach. The City has made no decisions on price or terms of a sale of the property. The Evanston Arts Center is in the second year of identifying a new location for its operations in order to increase its accessibility to residents and improve its facilities. The Arts Center has always been welcome to remain in the Harley Clarke Mansion until the building is deemed unsafe, a choice they have wisely declined.
Three points in your petition require attention. First, the City Council has discussed this project many times in open session over the years. Minutes and video from those discussions are available on our website. A recording of one executive session held by the City Council’s Human Services Committee on February 4, 2013 was inadvertently not saved. The written minutes of that meeting are available online here: http://www.cityofevanston.org/assets/February%204%202013%20-%20HS.pdf The petition also states incorrectly that the Evanston Zoning Board has voted against the sale. There has been no formal consideration of a specific proposal on the property by the Zoning Board or any other legislative body in the City of Evanston. The Mayor has no vote on the issue unless required to break a tie.
Any future uses for the Harley Clarke Mansion will be discussed by the City Council in open session and community meetings will be held before any final action is taken.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Tisdahl
Mayor


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