RFP Response

Evanston Community Lakehouse & Gardens

By February 28, 2020, we will submit a formal response to the city of Evanston’s request for proposals (RFP) to return the Harley Clarke Mansion and Jens Jensen-designed gardens to community use. While the Harley Clarke Mansion will be available for sale or lease as part of this process, the city specifies that:

The lessee or purchaser will be required to invest in a substantial renovation of the property while maintaining the historic character of the building. Proposals must also address any parking issues, accommodate the existing public space and recreation area, maintain the Jens Jensen Gardens, and include a public component (e.g. café, museum, class, garden, etc.).

Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens

In October 2017, Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens submitted response to the city’s RFP. In November 2017, city council voted to accept our proposal — by an 8-1 vote — and instructed the city manager to enter into a lease with us.

In July 2018, city council subsequently decided to end negotiations in favor of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Evanston Lighthouse Dunes, a privately funded group that offered to finance the demolition of the Harley Clarke Mansion and removal of the Jens Jensen-designed gardens. An MOU was signed in August 2018.

In October 2018, the city’s historic preservation commission voted unanimously against issuing the city of Evanston a demolition permit. Following a referendum in November 2018 — in which more than 80 percent of Evanston voters who voted on the measure favored restoration — city council, in December 2018, chose not to appeal the preservation commission’s decision and rescinded its agreement with Evanston Lighthouse Dunes.

Council then instructed the city manager to initiate a new RFP process.

Click the button below to review our prior submission.