Evanston aldermen Monday agreed to a two-month delay in getting a recommendation from city staff about which of four proposals to lease the vacant Harley Clarke mansion they should accept.

The request for proposals for a new use for the mansion, which gave potential lessees a deadline of Feb. 28 to submit their proposals, set a tentative date for the City Council to begin reviewing the proposals of March 23 and a planned lease award date of May 1.

But at Monday’s City Council meeting, Interim City Manager Erika Storlie said staff wouldn’t be able to complete the review of the proposals this month and proposed that the aldermen begin their review of them at a special meeting on May 18.

She suggested the RFP respondents would be invited to make presentations of their plans at the start of the meeting and public comments on the proposals would be taken after those presentations.

The aldermen didn’t take up a suggestion from Nancy Sreenan, the treasurer of Evanston Community Lakehouse and Gardens, one of the RFP respondents, that a new community committee should be appointed to review the proposals.

The city has been trying to decide what to do with the lakefront mansion for the better part of a decade.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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