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Citizen-led Referendum Challenged!!! 

Public Hearing Tuesday 8/21/18, 4:00 pm

On Wednesday July 25th, the first citizen-led referendum in a decade,  containing a whopping 3,300+ signatures was filed to put the question whether to preserve or demolish the landmarked Harley Clarke Mansion at Lighthouse Beach on the November ballot, and let the City know definitively how the people of Evanston feel about this special place.  

On Friday August 3rd, another resident of the City of Evanston issued an objection which effectively could undo all of our hard work and mute the voice of the people.


"A dark day for Evanston: Alderman advance plan to demolish city-owned landmark."

- Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune Columnist

Despite the tremendous outpouring of community support, a 1.5 hour-long jam-packed public comment session, a citizen-led referendum petition in-hand, and the firm support of three aldermen: Evanston City Council still voted 5-3 to advance a proposal to demolish the historic landmark Harley Clarke home and Evanston’s only public lakefront building.  

While the vote did not go the way we had hoped...

...the story is far from over.

Listen to what 3rd Ward & 7th Alderman, Melissa Wynne & Eleanor Revelle had to say:

"I am deeply, deeply opposed to demolishing the building."

"The idea that we would send a bulldozer into this building is just shameful,"

 "...take a timeout, mothball the building, and wait for a better idea."

“We are rushing in haste to make a decision because we have a wealthy group of neighbors who have a good purpose, but whose money has a deadline on it,”

Demolition Revealed.

  Left:  Represents the Donors of the pro-demolition.   Right:  Preservation supporters who signed City-wide petition.

Left: Represents the Donors of the pro-demolition.  Right: Preservation supporters who signed City-wide petition.


The pro-demolition group, The Evanston Lighthouse and Dunes (ELD),  is a small group of 41 people that mostly live near-by.  While they have offered $400,000 dollars for demolition, they have not guaranteed to fund the full cost of deconstruction or provided details on its dune restoration promise.   Nor has the city explained how they intend on protecting the space from future developments.

"According to the bid estimates discussed in June, deconstructing the mansion could cost upward of nearly $600,000. That estimate did not include costs budgeted to fill and grade the property after the mansion comes down." - The Evanston Review

"The $400,000 proposed by the dunes group does not begin to cover the costs,"  “I don’t accept that; that’s a terrible way to act. That’s not smart government policy.” - 3rd Ward Alderman, Melissa Wynne

“We’re not prepared to offer a blank check."

- Nicole Kustok, Evanston Lighthouse Dunes group member

 This "bait and switch" technique could leave city tay-payers holding the bag and covering the remaining costs.

 Take a closer look the ELD Group's proposal

The Truth about the Harley Clarke House 

There is a lot of mis-information about the condition and/or liability of Harley Clarke House, we decided put together a list of Myths and Facts to dispel the notion that house is anything short of magical.  Not to mention, solid as a rock.  

"The structurally sound. And it’s rare architectural gem — potentially, a people’s gem." - Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, The Referendum Is In!

Thanks to our amazing volunteers and incredible residents of Evanston, the enormous citizen-led referendum has been successfully submitted!

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition! 

 This petition was the first citizen-led referendum in a decade,  contained a whopping 3,300+ signatures will put the question whether to preserve or demolish the landmarked Harley Clarke Mansion at Lighthouse Beach on the November ballot, and let the City know definitively how the people of Evanston feel about this special place

LEarn more about how to save Evanston’s only public lakefront house. 





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"Harley Clarke Mansion advocates in Evanston get 3,300 petition signatures for November ballot referendum"



"Evanston plan to demolish Harley Clarke mansion: Public vision or hidden agendas?" 

- Blair kamin, chicago tribune

"Wake up Evanston Leaders...Don't demolish the Harley Clarke"

- Blair kamin, chicago tribune



Find out about the history of the Harley Clarke home.

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press and support

Harley Clarke Press Release, News, and the leaders who support it.

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