March 24, 2017

FAQ: Harley Clarke

What are your thoughts on the Harley Clarke Mansion?

The Harley Clarke Mansion is an example of the failure of government. This issue has been around for 4 years and has remained unsolved by the current City Council while the Mansion falls into further disrepair.

I believe Harley Clarke can only be restored with private funding or a strongly financed non-profit or Foundation. I would never contemplate selling our lakefront parks. Our public lakefront parks are what help make this a special place, and I am so thankful that generations of Evanstonians before us made this a priority to be a public space.

Because we have so many critical infrastructure and human service needs, I do not think it would be a wise or an equitable investment to put millions into Harley Clarke, which is what it will cost to restore. I would like to see the mansion saved as it is part of our history. Therefore, if there is a non-profit or foundation that has the financial means and can still offer us a public or quasi-public benefit, I will suggest that we as a community consider it. Under no circumstance, should the beach or dunes ever be sold. These are local treasures and should always remain in the public’s domain.

Because I chaired the Harley Clarke committee a few years back I have written extensively on the subject, which you can read by clicking here. You can also read my proposal for how we should break the impasse and move forward by clicking here.

I would never sell off our “sacred” lakefront parkland. I would just like to solve a problem with this large, once beautiful building that is now in disrepair.