The Referendum is on the Ballot!
Vote YES on Nov. 6th

On November 6, 2018, Evanston voters will see a citizen-initiated referendum question on the ballot:

“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?


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Why should you VOTE YES on November 6th?

Why should we protect Harley Clarke from demolition?

  • The most environmentally-friendly thing to do with an old building is adaptive reuse.

  • Demolition not only destroys a public asset forever but also releases dangerous toxins into the air, including asbestos and lead. (WBEZ, What’s With That Demolition Dust? 1/7/18)

  • The demolition plan includes clear-cutting old-growth trees along the lakefront, creating a stark landscape.

Why should we preserve the landmark Harley Clarke Buildings?

  • Adaptive reuse is a hot trend around the country historic buildings become economic engines in their communities - imagine the possibilities for our beautiful old house on the lake!

    • Despite some arguments, the Harley Clarke debate has NOT exhausted all options. New ideas are being shared with us constantly, and historic preservation and adaptive reuse experts are lining up, offering to help find the best possible plan for the future of Harley Clarke, and to help find new sources of funding which may include grants, tax breaks, and sponsorships.

Why preserve Harley Clarke for use and access as public property?

  • The Harley Clarke house is the ONLY public house on the lake in Evanston—it belongs to US, and we ALL should have access to it.

  • It’s a unique public treasure and could be something special for the community.

Is preservation consistent with the Lakefront Master Plan?

  • The Master Plan specifically called for maintaining and celebrating the Harley Clarke buildings and grounds. The Harley Clarke buildings at Lighthouse Landing Park make it listed (as noted in the Master Plan) as a park with special amenities or facilities, such as the ability to host large community gatherings or events, and the Lakefront Master Plan specifically calls for the property to be used for weddings and a light-fare café, which would make the property self-sustainable already.  (City of Evanston Lakefront Master Plan, at 90-91 (2008).)

Will preserving Harley Clarke really amount to minimal or no costs to taxpayers?

  • Two citizen groups have offered to pay the costs of maintaining the house for several years until an adaptive reuse plan can be found. Two plans for low or no City cost have already been presented.   

  • Estimates vary on cost to rehabilitate the house, but there are sources of revenue to reopen OUR public lakehouse.

In conclusion, Evanston voters have the opportunity to let their voices be heard on November 6th. One person, one voice, one vote, for OUR community lake house. Vote YES!