I may not have found THE meaning of life, but I have come to know it's all about making choices. While it's nearly impossible to make everyone happy all the time, tough decisions must be made in order to keep moving forward.
So what is it that we want to do with the property? A very famous British pop band once sang: "So tell me what you want, what you REALLY REALLY want." It's time we speak up.
I'll tell you what I want, but I want to hear your opinion, too. The city council meets next week to discuss plans for Harley Clarke, so let's let them know how we think about moving forward.
Here's what I REALLY REALLY want:
A lakefront culinary school...something with outdoor seating in the summer months, with broad porches and rocking chairs for beautiful views, and a warm, lodge-like interior with fireplaces to escape into during biting Evanston winters. The walls would be filled with local artists' work...and additional space throughout the building could be used for classes, chefs in residence, or notable guests. I'd like to see the property represent Evanston's unique and creative spirit, its artistic integrity and its commitment to ALL residents. We have SO many restaurants in this town...so why not incorporate something of a food service cooperative in which students from all around the area could learn the fundamentals of working in restaurants? Everything from the basics up to management? I miss the days when Kendall College was here...when we had access to fine dining at reasonable prices, prepared and served by students learning their craft. As I've only just come up with this idea, I have no idea who'd fund such an establishment. However, I think the advantages of such a place would touch upon so many residents' desires to build community, to educate, to emphasize culture and maintain a piece of history. And, I'd love to meet the person or entity who could gut the interior while leaving the exterior intact.
What do you think should happen to the Harley Clarke mansion? I'd love to hear more viewpoints, because every single one matters.