Update: Harley Clarke

The saga of the magnificent Harley Clarke house and grounds, going back to the end of the Evanston Art Center’s tenancy, is almost as long and sad as that of the Civic Center, with a similar subplot of neglect of a public asset, and non-transparency at key moments. But maybe that’s changing.

(Right: the ballroom on the top floor of the Harley Clarke House formerly hosted swell galas -- and might again!) CSNA strongly supports, and believes Evanston residents strongly support, keeping and restoring the landmark property as the only public lakefront mansion on the North Shore. The City in the last decade has rebuffed multiple workable proposals for that. However, the current City administration and Council posture suggest that some learning has occurred and that some truly public-space-centered planning energy flourishes within the City.

A fairly accurate timeline, as well as an encouraging statement, can be found on the City’s website. Ten different responses to a Request for Proposal were returned and we hope for a City evaluation that honors residents’ desire to preserve this unique public asset. The City, which manages to find large sums for all manner of proposals and private entities that never received comparable public support, should do its part.