Recap: City Council

The Harley Clarke mansion.

Here's a recap ofour live coverage of this evening's Evanston City Council meeting.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Approving a new request for proposals for a new use for the lakefront Harley Clarke mansion is among the items on tonight's agenda.

Mayor reads proclamation honoring the 125th anniversary of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Evanston.

Clerk Devon Reid announces that final vote tally from this month's election broke the tie and Dan Coyne will continue on the Ridgeville Park District Board, defeating Rob Bady.

Public comment

First speaker advocates for fundraising for former Foster School building.

Eb Moran, former 6th Ward alderman, suggests Harley Clarke mansion should be made more suitable for the entire community. Says current plan for RFP won't work, as past options haven't worked. Suggests city should allow the mansion to be deconstructed and open up the site to provide a beautiful vista of the lake.

Says could be a site for concerts, plays and activities for kids. All those would be much more useful than the mansion, he says.

Meg Welsh claims new bonds for Crown Center don't need to be issued next week.

Jennifer Schader suggests taking up Landmarks Illlinois offer of expert consulting regarding Harley Clarke.

Misty Witenberg objects to changes in citizen comment. Says residents are being oppressed for being distressed. Says residents are telling you that they're not being heard.

Allie Harned says don't sell the only public house on the lake.

Bennett Johnson claims the Crown Center, Albion project and other developments in town have very few minority contractors and minority workers.

After several other speakers on Harley Clarke, public comment ends

SP1 - Harley Clarke RFP

Presentation, read by Susie Hall of the city manager's staff.

Related story

Promotion page on city website.

City manager says will have full-day of tour time on several different days.

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, suggests having a matrix to indicate what the city is most interested in. Suggests having a diverse citizen review panel.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says there's been a lot of focus on vision and not much on the amount of money needed to make it happen.

Mayor Steve Hagerty says his impression was that Landmarks Illinois wants the city to pay for its consulting on the project. Says he thinks any developer will want to come up with their own technical teams and cost estimates.

Fiske says she's concerned about the process and how much money the house will require. Says Noyes School is on the border between 1st and 5th Wards. It needs $5million worth of work. Same amount of improvements required at Foster School.

Says there are other landmarks besides Harley Clarke that the city has been trying to retain. (Doubts there's funds for all of them.)

Says she's looking forward to when revenue is seriously discussed by the Harley Clarke advocates at their meetings -- hasn't happened yet, she says.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, wants a big public component to any new use.

Likes the matrix idea.

Asks what's the penalty if a long-term lessee doesn't deliver on the public component or other aspects.

Says shouldn't offer a sale option.

Mayor updates his comments about Landmarks Illinois, says they did make an offer of pro bono help.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says wants to have public review panel that doesn't include people involved with any of the proposals.

Wilson says he, like Wynne, is opposed to the sale option.

Hagerty sale would give a party assurance that they can get a return on the major rehab investment they have to.

Wilson says could be long term lease ... and sale has no end date.

Wynne says Chiaravalle School initially was on a long term lease from the city and then later bought the building and the land beneath it.

Revelle agrees with Wilson and Wynne about public component and not considering a sale.

Fiske says if that's the case there's hardly any difference between this RFP and the last one.

Says can control the use through a deed restriction or some other legal technique.

Offers example of Roycemore owning the school building on a 99 year land lease from Northwestern.

Says doesn't see how can expect people to put $5 million or more into a building that they don't own and have a lease for only 25 years.

Says can imagine a family foundation buying it.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, agrees with Fiske that should include a sale option. Says people are more invested in the future of a building if they own it.

Says with a lease the city will still be liable for whatever happens at the building.

Says need to offer both options -- sale or long-term lease.

Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, says based on referendum she doesn't think a sale would work -- but "minimal or no cost" to the taxpayers means need to have a viable plan for funding it.

Mayor suggests adding additional tour dates. Says he favors a long-term lease, not a sale. Suggests having review panels of staff and residents.

Says fears will have dualing cost estimates if bring in Landmarks Illinois. Says proposers should develop their own cost estimates.

Wilson moves approval with two changes -- to add additonal tour dates and eliminate the sale options.

Fails for lack of a second.

Fiske says if don't have sale option, will end up where were a year ago -- with just one response.

Revelle says RFP now only seems to suggest a very small public component -- wants to beef that up.

Moves approval with the two modifications Wilson suggested and that public use needs to be "a really singificant portion of the proposal.

Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, says if are unwilling to sell the land we're probably ruling out a bunch of not-for-profit or governmental uses. So suggests saying would be willing to sell the land and building to a government entity or a not-for-profit.

"We should look at everything," Suffredin says.

Wilson says selling one of our parks to the state of Illinois is one of the last thing's he'd want to consider, given how poorly they've managed their land.

Rainey says city can decide what to accept -- can choose whatever city thinks is the best option. Shouldn't be making it narrow.

Vote on Suffredin's amendment to Revelle's proposal ... fails 5-3. Those in favor were Fiske, Suffredin and Rainey.

Revelle's motion -- to add more tour dates, that not selling the building and want significant public use for the building.

Approved 5-3 with Fleming, Fiske and Rainey voting no.

SP2 - Temporary traffic signal, Central at Bryant, during bridge construction.

Approved 7-0.

SP3 - City Council goals

Presentation on goals

 

Johanna Leonard, community development director leads off the presentation.

Kimberly Richardson, deputy city manger, does presentation on the city's equity goal. (Copy not in the packet.)

Hillary Beata does Open data presentation

Related story

SP4 - Citizen participation resolution

45 minutes at Planning and Development, 20 minutes at other standing committees.

Approved.

SP5 - PD committee start time 6:30 p.m.

Approved.

SP6 - Decorum during council meetings

City manager says council rules now don't have any provision regarding decorum.

Refers to examples from Boulder, Colorado

Proposes adoption of two-page resoultion 43-R-19.

Suggests discussion of the Boulder proposal at the June Rules Committee meeting.

Says Rue Simmons is concerned that some residents feel they can't come to ward meetings because some other people at the meetings are so loud and angry.

Fleming says there are several things in the Boulder document that she doesn't care for, though OK with discussing at at the Rules Committee 

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says he's a little hesitant about some of the Boulder provisions for removing residents.

Says Mr. Gibbs was being loud ... but not sure he was being threatening. Says there have been other residents who've been extremelty threatening says before take action would like to have more community discussion.

Fiske says doesn't want discussion about civility to sound like we're being uncivil to anyone. But says something is happening over the past couple of years. Says a lot of people known to be very reasonable are reluctant to come to speak beause of the way theyve been treated by very vocal advocates both in the building and in the parking lot. Not sure how to bring a sense of civility back to discussions in this building.

Approved. Suffredin votes no.

Call of the wards

Fleming ... Saturday 9 a.m. Levy Center ward meeting.

Rainey says planning meeting for commercial property owners about new tax assessments

Council votes to go into executive session.

Public meeting ends at 9:27 pm.

 

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