Citizen-led Referendum Challenged!

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

On 7/25/18, 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.  

The Question Filed:

"Shall the City of Evanston protect from demolition and preserve the landmark Harley Clarke Buildings and Gardens next to lighthouse beach, for use and access as public property, consistent with the Evanston Lakefront Master Plan, at minimal or no cost to evanston taxpayers?"

Within the deadline for objections, 3 different objections to the Referendum Questionwere filed! 

In the first one, the main point of evaluation came in regards to our citation of the Lakefront Master Plan.

"The measure put forward to preserve the Harley Clarke building should be denied because of false claims that those actions are consistent with the Evanston Lakefront Master Plan.  City historical records do not validate those claims. Records clearly show that any City of Evanston plans for that property were for Lakefront parkland only.”

- Objector

We feel confident the objection is completely unfounded.  We know the Lakefront Master Plan NEVER talked about demolishing the building, but instead says we should restore and celebrate the structures and the gardens.

What is Lakefront Master Plan and What does it say?

Published in 2008, the Lakefront Master Plan is the City of Evanston's own blueprint for future renovation projects along Evanston’s lakefront.  Here's an explanation of the level of attention and thoroughness that went into this plan:

"The planning process took over 18 months during 2006 and 2007, and included involvement by a wide range of citizens. City staff asked for input from groups that use the parks, beaches and boat launches; neighbors; aldermen; and the general public.
A series of meetings led to a broad vision of what the lakefront could be or should be, and that vision was then fine-tuned until a Master Plan was formed."

In regard to the Harley Clarke House and the surrounding Jen Jensen grounds, The Lakefront Master Plan states:

"The historic nature of these facilities should be maintained and celebrated, and accordingly, the key elements of the master pLan for this area focus on restoration of the historic structures and the Jens Jensen landscape."

- The Official Lakefront Master Plan

Case in Point!

We believe therefore, our citing of this plan is valid and to suggest otherwise, is to fly in the face of the city's own "Master Plan".

Here is the full excerpt.

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 3.08.40 PM.png

Read more about the LMP here.

Next Steps, How to Help

We won the hearing on 8/14/18, and the first objection was thrown out!!  Next there will be a hearing to determine if the other two objections are valid, which will be determined by the Electoral Board:  Mayor Hagerty, Alderman Rainey, and City Clerk Reid. This will be a public hearing, and we welcome you to join in to support us, Tuesday, August 21, 4 pm. As Save Harley Clarke, we enthusiastically promote civility and respect - and believe that silent support in impressive numbers speaks loudly.  (Save your pitchforks, we may need them down the road... ;))  Unfortunately, this is going to get expensive - we need to lawyer up! Your donations can help support legal fees, which could run into the many thousands, we’ve been told.

In addition to the legal fees, once we win the hearing, it is currently less than 3 months until Election Day! We are ready to hit the ground running with a public information campaign and other related costs to help save the building. We hope you’re ready to support those efforts. We need to print yard signs, t-shirts, flyers, etc, plus host events, post advertisements, and do everything we can to win the hearts of every Evanston voter for a resounding YES on November 6, 2018.  Here’s how you can help financially, with more info coming soon about ways to get involved otherwise.  A big thank you in advance! 

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