Tight deadline planned for Harley Clarke proposals


Under a plan scheduled to be approved by Evanston aldermen tonight, non-profit groups interested in leasing the lakefront Harley Clarke mansion will have just over two months to prepare a detailed response to a city request for proposals for the property.

The revised timeline calls for releasing the RFP on Aug. 3 with submissions due Oct. 9.

City staff had originally proposed issuing the RFP on July 20 and giving would-be lessees until Nov. 20 to respond.

The shorter time line had been suggested by aldermen at their July 10 meeting — on the theory that a timeline that let the city make a lease award before the end of the year would give the winning bidder an opportunity to capitalize on the tendency of donors to make more charitatble gifts just before the year-end tax deadline.

But the short deadline also likely reduces the chance that new bidders for the mansion will emerge, given the head start that the Evanston Lakehouse & Gardens group has from its two-year pursuit of the mansion property.

The revised RFP draft also specifies that the mansion development could include a “light-fare cafe” but not a full-service restaurant.

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