Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the lakefront Harley Clarke mansion will need some immediate repairs — but its windows won’t have to be boarded up now that the Evanston Art Center has moved out of the building.
He had previously said the mansion might need to be boarded up — and several speakers at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting had argued that boarding the windows was an unnecessary expense that would likely damage the structure and raise the cost of any future restoration of the building.
Bobkiewicz says he toured the mansion on Friday with Public Works and Arts Center staff
He says the art center’s move is nearly complete, with mostly cleaning and clearing of trash left to be done and that art center officials requested and have been granted a few extra days — until 5 p.m. Wednesday — to complete the move out.
Bobkiewicz says the city’s public works staff has identified steps needed to secure the building. There is a functioning burglar and fire alarm system. Monitoring controls are being transferred to the city. All billing for utility services are being transferred to the city and all services will remain connected.
The condition of the windows varies widely, Bobkiewicz says but staff believes they can be secured without any boarding inside or out. There will need to be temporary repairs to some windows since there are some with portions completely open to the outside. The fire escapes and some entry doors need repair and portions of at least one fire escape will need to be removed immediately for safety reasons.
Public Works staff will go start those repairs at the end of the week, Bobkiewicz says, and the mansion will be closed for all uses.