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August 14, 2018

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Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Lisa D'Angelo

Iím still dumbfounded that the City Council voted 8-0 in support of bonds to pay for the new Robert Crown complex, infrastructure improvements throughout the City and development on Howard Street, when some critical yet fundamental questions are not answered, but were asked at the July 9th meeting such as:
1. What will this cost taxpayers?
2. How did the cost of the project go from approximately $20 million to its present $53 million estimate?
3. How will the City satisfy the $70,000 per year in debt service?
4. How do you figure that a facility which is currently running at about a $700,000 loss per year will be reduced "hopefully" to a loss of $400,000 per year, and then that "net loss" savings of $300,000 be earmarked for building maintenance fund?
I am quite confident that I am not the only one who would like these questions to be answered and hereís one more, "how do you study in a library when there is a basketball court built above you?"

Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Pat Perkins

Volunteers Can Help Rehab the Mansion
As an attorney living in Evanston, Iíd like to propose a possible creative solution to the Harley Clarke fiasco that I havenít yet heard mentioned by anyone: How about getting volunteers with the necessary skills together to perform the repairs needed and save the mansion from the wrecking ball, free of charge?
As a lawyer, Iíve personally donated many hours of my time to pro bono clients, and I personally know of many others here in Evanston who do the same (basically anyone working for a large firm is pretty much required to do so by their firms).
Itís called giving back to the community, and it applies not just to the legal community.
I personally know several contractors, plumbers, and electricians who own $1 million-plus homes in Evanston who have the skills to do all the work necessary to restore Harley Clarke to operability and to a condition that could allow it to be put to use to benefit the entire community.
Considering that the demolition costs are now approaching the costs of repair, and [that] those costs of repair are in large part due to the inflated fees of these self-same contractors, I think itís time to start not-so-subtly pointing out the discrepancies here and getting them to do their part in contributing back to the community that so enriches and benefits them, as it does the rest of us who already are giving back and have been for years.

Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Dickelle Fonda

Woodstock Comes to Evanston
It happened this summer in Evanston Ė not Woodstock but a series of outdoor concerts, the last two on the lawn of Canal Shores, sponsored and organized by SPACE (dubbed Out of Space.)
Sitting on that lawn with friends under clear dry skies waiting for the Indigo Girls to perform, I was flipping through the pages of my memory back to 1969 in Upstate New York to another music venue/festival ... a different time and a different place, nearly a half century apart.
Then: four days of music with half a million people camped out on a dairy farm ... today: a manageable few thousand on a golf course.
Then: rain and mud instead of clear skies and green grass blankets and tents not folding lawn chairs people arriving in old VW vans instead of Subarus, Volvos or by train barefoot people in torn jeans and tie-die rather than REI, skinny jeans and Tevas.
The smell of weed permeating the air instead of wine sold in cans. ... Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and now the Indigo Girls and Mavis Staples.
Immersed that night in the present, but enjoying flashbacks to another time and place, both experiences memorable in wildly different ways Ė- and both peaceful and chill.
SPACE, thank you for your gift to Evanston on your 10-year anniversary.
Letís do it again next year. Hint: Neil Young is still performing.

Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Keith Holzmueller

Boys Swimming and Diving Omitted From 'Highlights'
"A Strong Year For Many Teams," in the July 26 RoundTable, omitted the season highlight for Boys Swimming and Diving and incorrectly stated that no Boys Track and Field runners qualified for the State meet.
Boys Swimming and Diving won the Combined State Championship, thanks to the points earned by Harol Anolick and Trevor Nelson in diving, Aidan Dillon in swimming, and Aaron Holzmueller in the Athletes with Disabilities division. Only teams with state meet qualifiers in both the open and Athletes with Disabilities divisions were eligible to win this championship.
Far from disappointing, Boys Track and Field handily won their Sectional meet and qualified six individuals for the State Meet: Sacrad Michelin in the 100 and 200 meters, William McMichael in the 400 meters, Logan Singer in the 800 meters, Gabe Cheeks in the long jump and Quentin Ivory in the shot put, as well as state champion Jonathon Wilburn in the triple jump. The team also qualified these 3 relays: 4 x 100 meters, 4 x 400 meters and 4 x 800 meters.

Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Ed Bryant

The Wrath of Emotionalized Public Opinion
Here I am Laughing Out Loud, to use today's idiom, on the Harley Clarke Mansion again. Just when the issue appeared resolved, it's back in the news and back before our beleaguered City Council. It would be very interesting for me to compare the names of the "Don't Privatize Our Parks" members with those of today's "Save Harley Clarke" fans. Undoubtedly they overlap a lot. Harley Clarke has certainly been good for the yard sign industry.
In a prior letter to the Roundtable I opined that the "Don't Privatize Our Parks" movement of 2013-14 invoked the wrath of emotionalized public opinion. So much so that it forced our threatened City Council to be poor stewards for Evanston with regard to the clear wasting asset known as Harley Clarke. A wasting asset is one which causes more trouble than it is worth, one which continuously costs more to maintain than it produces in revenue. Unless a deep pocket comes forward to support it as a perpetual monument, it wastes away and brings shame to its stewards.
Now comes yet another hotel proposal with plans for an annex for more hotel rooms. The rejected Jennifer Pritzker proposal was not so encumbered. Now also comes a birthing and wellness center with big plans, but no capital, and another not-for-profit which wants to study uses for such landmarks. Finally, some aldermen now want a referendum, putting off the future of Harley Clarke until Illinois might be in the hands of someone other than the cost-cutting Bruce Rauner.
Respectfully to all involved, I suggest that Harley Clarke is an Evanston problem, not a State of Illinois problem. The wasting asset could have been converted to a taxable community jewel by Jennifer Pritzker in 2014, but that multi-advantage proposal was rejected by a fearful City Council in the ďDonít PrivatizeĒ mania. Today it is time to take advantage of the Evanston Lighthouse Dunes group time-limited offer from the neighbors of the mansion to finance up to $400,000 the demolition of the mansion and the restoration of the lakefront as a public park.
One of the delightful and psychically rewarding characteristics of Evanston is the constant involvement of its citizens in issues of public interest. Democracy thrives in a "town meeting" setting. But successful town meetings are ones which evaluate realistic alternatives and make timely decisions. For Harley Clarke, it is time.

Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Lynne Heidt

Glad Council Nixed the Pritzker Boutique Hotel
Driving to work and listening on the radio for all the world to hear the ungodly decision of the Evanston City Council to pursue tearing down the Harley Clarke mansion, I am thinking of Alderman Ann Raineyís rationale that, had the Council gone with Ms. Pritzkerís proposal to build an elegant hotel where the Harley Clarke Mansion now sits, she and other Council members would not have to listen to at least four dozen members of the community literally begging the Council to work with the local citizens who want to save the mansion.
Perhaps Ald. Rainey is unaware that both the fabulously rehabbed mansions on Sheridan Road, both now bed-and-breakfast facilities, are on the market and presumably are not economically feasible. If the Council had gone along with Ald. Rainey and her support of the Pritzker hotel, for all we know the hotel, which was not to be, likely would fail to meet Pritzker's cash-flow requirements and today might be sold to Comfort Inn.

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