The City of Evanston and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will hold a community meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 15, to discuss state agency’s interest in leasing the Harley Clarke mansion on Evanston’s lakefront.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m., in the Parasol Room of the Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.

The city has been considering alternate uses of the mansion for several years. Last October, the IDNR expressed formal interest in a long term lease for the mansion.

The building would be used to house the department’s Coastal Management Program and provide space for other departmental uses.

The community meeting will feature a presentation by IDNR staff on its operations, provide further details on their proposed use of the mansion and answer questions from the community.

Located in the northeast corner of Evanston, the historic English Tudor mansion was a private residence until it was purchased by the Sigma Chi National Fraternity in 1951, and used as its headquarters for 14 years.

In 1965, the City of Evanston purchased the property as part of the development of the Lighthouse Landing Park. The city has leased the mansion to the Evanston Art Center for several decades.

Aldemen last summer rejected a proposal to sell the mansion to Jennifer Pritzker for conversion to a boutique hotel.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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