Don't Sell Harley Mansion or Lake Front Property

 No Sale of Public Parks and Lake Front Property- Selling the Harley Clarke Mansion and approx 40,000-100,000 sq ft of Lake Front land would be detrimental to Evanston.  Lakefront property is a finite, irreplaceable natural asset that, once gone, cannot be reclaimed.  Evanston must maintain ownership and control of land and properties it owns, especially on and near the lakefront. These are public treasures, once lost, and are gone forever. We should guard and treasure what little lakefront the community owns. The Harley-Clarke Mansion site is no exception.



Summary: Col. James Pritzker, is seeking to purchase the Harley-Clarke Mansion including 2.5 acres of valuable lakefront property through a company called Tawani Enterprises Inc., the Hyatt Hotel heir has proposed converting the three-story brick building into a 57-room boutique hotel “The vision of the proposed plan is a 57 room boutique hotel with meeting rooms and a ballroom for events such as weddings. It would be open to the public with limited access to the beach. The public beach house would remain.  The proposed annex would replace the parking space and a 200 car underground parking would be added.” The property would become a commercially zoned boutique-type hotel.

Why Keep the Property: Selling our lakefront property to any buyer is unacceptable. The Harley-Clarke Mansion is and could become a more productive, valuable asset to the people of Evanston. Lighthouse Beach is a recreational destination that bubbles with activity 12 months a year. We are lucky to have this property in our city as it is an oasis of public lakefront in a part of town that long ago ceded its lakefront to the university and private homeowners.

This property has been an Evanston landmark for generations, and it rightfully belongs to the future generations of Evanstonians. Selling land so close to our greatest asset, Lake Michigan is a precedent that must not be established.

Alternative Possibilities: We encourage thinking outside the box for a long term benefit-not a short term financial fix.  The mansion is a beautiful building with a newer roof, air conditioning, and heating. The windows can be fixed. The building can carry on for decades in the service of the community and become a public center which could be rented & used as an economic engine by the city for its residents & enhance the tax base.

In lieu of preserving the building, a less desirable option is to tear down the mansion and expand the current, lakefront ark—therefore eliminating upkeep costs on the physical structure. This would be a preferable option to relinquishing the land to a private entity. If this property is sold everybody will remember that we gave away the most valuable land our city owns.

Give your opinion of sell? or not sell?