About 70 people turned out Thursday evening for a second brainstorming session about possible new uses for the city-owned Harley Clarke mansion in Evanston.
With turnout down by nearly a third from last month's session, the group was told by organizers to focus on their most financially viable and most inclusive ideas.
But when participants, who'd been asked to gather at tables by broad topic categories -- like arts or education -- reported out to the full group as the meeting ended, there were few specifics offered about the financial viability of any of the concepts proposed.
Here's a sampling of what was proposed.
Although the City Council has said that any new use for the mansion has to be financially self-supporting, one group's top suggestion was that the mansion be turned into a library.
Evanston already has three public library branches and it's about to get a fourth at the new Robert Crown Community Center. The vast majority of the current library budget comes from a property tax levy.
Another top suggestion was "outdoor family movie screenings" -- a summertime service the city already provides at parks around the community that's funded by taxpayer dollars from the Parks and Recreation budget.
Another table led with a proposal to install sculptures in or around the mansion, hoping to raise funds by selling cocktails to people who showed up for opening receptions.
And yet another group hoped to entice museums in the metro area to set up exhibits at the mansion.
As the meeting ended the organizers of the event -- which, while it was held in the Parasol Room at the Civic Center, was not sponsored by the city -- promised that they would bring in experts to talk about fundraising options for potential new uses for the mansion when they hold their next meeting on April 4.