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August 16, 2018

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Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Frances Gasbarra

Letís work together! I did view the video on State of City in March of 2018, provided by the Evanston Roundtable and noticed the Mayor did not mention the work being done with the repurposing of Harley Clarke Mansion. And indeed, a month later in April, when I had just been made aware of the group and fantastic, diverse, educational outreach plans of Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens, a registered non-for-profit, the council in a bizarre twist, voted it down. And not-so-new proposal, by the Dunes group swooped in to propose, an unreasearched demolition ďgiftĒ with promised renovation of dunes and Jens garden. This has been lovingly embraced by some Alderman, with slanderous remarks being made about an unknown mentally challenged citizen who wants to keep Harley standing. Passion to save Harley is high. Most folks just found out about the wonderful Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens plans.
And amongst the calls of budget constraints, the council passes several spending gifts and tax abatement: a pole exercising shop, houses taken off tax rolls, program budget cut protection. Of course, the big 50 plus million dollar Robert Crown build expense! Is this over $500 per square foot?!
Only a third of the current cost, although an impressive number, less than 15 million, is covered by Friends of Robert Crown generous donors.
15 million should cover most of the build! Is artificial turf a good choice? Really? Health concerns and maintenance come to mind.

Yet, Foster School seeks to be made a Landmark, and the academic gap of decades ago continues, and a designated public historic Landmark is considered to be demolished even though it sits on a 10 acre park campus. And Fountain Square is not finished.

This home was built in the same year as my residence in the 6th ward, as are others along the lake. It can be a functional building.
How many homes exist along the lakefront? Around <41? Harley Clarke Mansion as a community house is special!
Why not? WHY NOT work together???
We can join together and those folks so passionately want to redo the manmade beach dunes and rehab the beautiful Jens Gardens can do so. Those supporting the repurposing of Harley Clarke can do so. And we will all be better for the collaborative efforts. A spectacular addition to the livability and grace of Evanston.

First letís Save Harley Clarke:learn more: https://www.saveharleyclarke.org/

Be well Evanston!

Dear Mayor Hagerty,

As a home owner in the 6th Ward and business owner of an international tax business residing in downtown Evanston, (my husband was a former Partner at PWC and EY Regional Tax Leader), we once again express our sincere request for the Harley Clarke Mansion to be protected from demolition and be repurposed to serve as a community house for all and all-year round.
It can serve the community in multiple ways: small cultural groups to international meets and greets serving children who need extra attention and a doses of kind wonderment in their lives to those who have disabilities as unnoticeable as vision or hearing loss to those artists looking for edgy photoshoots to large art installations we so miss on the lawn to those who are looking for respite from the hospital less than a mile away... we all know the possibilities to use this house are endless, and the ability to the limit of usage during summer seasonal needs make it that more special. Letís be a city that stands proud to be apart of its history and promote community culture.
Not everybody likes or can stand sports arenas, or bright lights, bars or gyms.

This is why we are so lucky to have so such an important opportunity in Evanston! Adding to our color and outreach in another venue and meeting cultural desires.

My home was built in 1927, maybe yours was too. We know Harley Clarke can be restored to serve!

I applaud the Council for their commitment to renew the downtown area over the last 2 decades, as I do remember and walked downtown Evanston on many Saturdayís, in the 1990ís, when the sidewalks were empty and businesses struggled. Now, the downtown is vibrant. Crowds are everywhere.
The desire for a large Robert Crown hockey facility and its outrageous cost met with little resistance. Your vision for this facility is so strong, and around 200 families have agreed to help out in funding. There wasnít any grief about the architecture of the precious build.
Surprisingly, the additional traffic, the parking, the lights around the facility were reasonable for the residences to bear. My hockey lover parents were up by 4 am to get their kids on the ice and later, when kids were older, leaving at 11pm, so I imagine these lights and traffic are regular nuisances 16 hours day. And the security costs 24/7.
For just under a cool 55 million, up 40 million than originally projected, but also, so much bigger, is it 55,000 sq ft?

So, I hope you will have the fortitude to stand up to the silliness, frivolous and un-researched additional costs of demolition, or at least have the Dunes group offering over 1 million to the tax payers for their gift of destroying an 2 million dollar asset , and in addition to the $650,000 plus demolition costs.

Instead of a year round usage of a community house of 37,000 sq ft, and a resounding loss of historical landscape of Evanston's deep history, we get a limited seasonal usage for those beach goers and who else?
Do you consider the city maleficence with the public trust to be a good steward of the city with a now overly stretched coffers, by not selling the property or allowing this group to renovate without cost to the city and provide jobs for citizens and teaching opportunities?

Harley Clarke offers a home:
A home predicates a different type of response to all who enter and participate in its offerings within its walls. This home inspires most, from the outside and inside. Its builders and artisan elements demonstrate a form lost in todays block builds.
The preservation alone could help students learn a much needed trade and restore and rebuild a solid structure. Film crews can learn a trade by filming the preservation works and use in tech online venues like Bob Vila.

Did you know? Harley Clarke was featured in the online magazine as a place to visit along with 14 other homes? And what a great place to enhance the story of the Lighthouse, through pictures plays and or film shorts? Or, this house can serve the hospital day caregivers and hospital visiting folks in need of a smoothing respite. I would love to have a house on the lake, donít you?
Why are a number of council members so dead set to destroy it when so many can see the beauty and call to duty it can serve??
Alderman Rainey has the Levey Center and James Park, the Howard street initiatives, and recently pole exercising.

The Dunes folks to not have to give up their vision restoring the gardens and the man-made dunes with their current funding.
Why is it either or??? Why cannot we join forces to bring this to a spectacular jewel of Evanston?
I see Mr. Lewis is requesting an elevator outcropping to his house to serve as an elevator shaft with a similar type of layout coach house it frontage to Sheridan, so there are thoughtful ways behind making Harley ADA compliant and user friendly.

Plus, I am sure Harley and its mature trees are blocking the mega glow from the new NWU sports arena. Giving shadow and wind shelter to our bird populations.

There are hundreds of homes dotting the important cities across the nation being used for community civil enrichment. On a recent trip to the State Dept, we stopped at the Phillips in DC, what a wonderful cello presentation was wafting through the corridors and amongst several sections of great art, Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party and Jacob Lawrenceís migration http://lawrencemigration.phillipscollection.org/ There is no parking at this home. Or later visiting The Barnes in Philly. https://www.barnesfoundation.org/whats-on/barnes-toddler-time.
Many such examples are in most important diverse cities.

Letís give Harley a chance to thrive and teach more ageless generations to be inspired! And letís celebrate Evanstons commitment to diversity by opening up its welcoming doors to a community center on the lakefront for all to enjoy, all year long!

Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,
Frances and Mark Gasbarra

Please excuse typos-Sent from my iPhone
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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
Editor:
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.



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