The Artists Book House organization is withdrawing from efforts to renovate the Harley Clarke mansion on Evanston’s lakefront.
Leaders of the group informed city officials of their decision Thursday.
Earlier this week a City Council committee had directed city staff to hire a mediator to resolve a conflict between the book house group and the Jens Jensen Gardens of Evanston organization over how the grounds outside the mansion itself should be divided between the two nonprofits.
At his ward meeting Thursday evening Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) said the leaders of the Artists Book House group, including author Audrey Niffenegger, concluded they would not be able to meet the goal of raising $10 million to restore the mansion on the revised timeline they had recently been negotiating with the city.
Nieuwsma said it looks like the city “is back to square one” in its decade-long effort to find a group to lease and restore the mansion.
“We need to take a breather and not act hastily,” Nieuwsma added.
The book house group reportedly plans to seek a smaller and less costly home for its planned operations.