Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz announced this morning that he and members of the Evanston Lighthouse Dunes group have signed a memorandum of understanding under which the group agrees to pay the cost of demolishing the lakefront Harley Clarke mansion.
Under terms of the agreement the demolition would only move forward the demolition if it is approved at the conclusion of a lengthy public review process.
The agreement calls for the Lighthouse Dunes group to deposit $400,000 toward the project cost with the city within 60 days of today’s signing.
Bobkiewicz says the group “brought in $260,000 this morning” and several additional payments were received by the City late last week.
The agreement indicates that, based on cost estimates presented to City Council in July, the Dunes group and the city believe the cost to demolish the building and restore the site will be less than $400,000.
But the group additionally agrees to provide up to $100,000 in additional funds once the mansion is demolished to conduct additional restoration work if needed.
Although the resolution authorizing Bobkiewicz to negotiate the agreement with the Dunes group was amended by aldermen to require a guarantee that the work could be done at no cost to the city, Bobkiewicz says he believes the funding provided in the agreement is sufficient to cover the full cost of “natural site restoration.”
Bobkiewicz says the first step in the public review process — an application to the Preservation Commission to approve demolition of the landmark structure — is complete and will be filed with the commission early this week.
He says the commission is likely to schedule a special meeting in October to consider the issue.
Last week the city’s Electoral Board rejected objections to the wording of a planned advisory referendum on the Harley Clarke issue, clearing the way for it to appear on the November ballot.