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Environmental Group to Share Proposal For Harley Clarke Mansion

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has expressed interest in a long-term lease on the historic property at 2603 Sheridan Rd.

City officials and representatives of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will host a community meeting next week to discuss the IDNR's interest in the city-owned Harley Clarke Mansion, 2603 Sheridan Rd.

After Evanston aldermen rejected a bid from Col. Jennifer Pritzker to purchase the mansion and turn it into a hotel, the historic property's future was up in the air. City officials said the mansion needed extensive and costly repairs, while representatives of its longtime tenant, the Evanston Art Center, said they hope to stay in the building

Illinois Department of Natural Resources staff will present information about the agency's operations, provide more details on their proposed use of the mansion and answer questions at the meeting next Wednesday, Jan. 15, according to a press release from the city.

The IDNR first expressed interest in a long-term lease of the building this October, according to a press release from the city. The statewide environmental agency would use the mansion to house its Coastal Management Program, among other IDNR programs, the release said. 

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, in the Parasol Room of the Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. 
Jordan S. Zoot January 09, 2014 at 12:22 AM
It would be great to have IDNR house some of their hunting related programs here in Evanston.....such teaching Hunter Safety and perhaps Firearm Courses locally.
Mary January 09, 2014 at 09:16 AM
Hopefully they will use it for administration and public information and education on lakefront ecology. Indiana has a nice facility on the lake that does education and outreach.
E-Towner January 09, 2014 at 10:05 AM
Wouldn't it be great to have a "nice facility on the lake" and use it for "public information and education"? But don't you know that Illinois is BROKE? The State of Illinois doesn't have the money to pay for all the "nice" programs people WANT. The State NEEDS to fix its fiscal situation else people and businesses will continue to leave Illinois. People need to wake up to today's realities and differentiate between WANTS and NEEDS.
Karen January 09, 2014 at 11:32 AM
@ Jordan, the primary users of Lighthouse Beach and the park there are families with children and day camps. Everyone loves the serenity of the beach, dunes, tall trees, fire pit. THE LAST thing anyone wants to hear is gun fire or see target practice while we are enjoying the beach or park during summer time!!!!!! I sure as hell don't want to have to talk to small children about guns and murder, which my kids will inevitably bring up, while we are trying to enjoy a carefree day at the beach. How about a vacant lot somewhere in an area that needs revitalization (West Side needs help,) or your beloved Skokie, not the best lakefront/beach property in town, and possibly the North Shore. Let kids enjoy their innocence and a beautiful day hopping waves, not worried about gunfire. Jesus!!
Jordan S. Zoot January 09, 2014 at 11:33 AM
Well....IDNR's conservation programs are one of the few State of Illinois functions that are fully self sufficient...and guess what pays for the bulk of their operations...HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSES. It would be nice to see priority allocated to those programs that pay their own freight. Want another example of a program that is paying its own costs.....try the Illinois State Police CONCEALED CARRY FIREARMS licensing program. Maybe ISP could move a portion of that program to Evanston as well.
jim January 09, 2014 at 01:09 PM
The Evanston Lakefront Parks and Beaches belong to all the residents of Evanston to use. Not just those that think they are to good to mix with all the residents no matter which area of town they live in
Jordan S. Zoot January 09, 2014 at 03:02 PM
Karen....you are a blithering ignorant moron that doesn't know how to read. Nowhere in my comments did I suggest setting up a range at the beach. My comment related to letting IDNR which oversees hunting and fishing use part of the building since the fees from those programs are fully self supporting. Candidly, you and your kids have no more right to use the lake front than any other member of the community. I do appreciate you finally acknowledging that a shooting range on west side of Evanston would be a welcome addition. I actually think that would be a good idea. Further, introducing kids to the responsible use of firearms at an appropriate age has been a tradition in this country since its founding. Its unfortunate that tree hugging libritards choose to deprive their children of the experience that is a longstanding part of American culture.
Mary January 09, 2014 at 04:02 PM
Jordan-- I don't think Karen is a blithering idiot. Frankly, although I disagree with you about guns, I'm disappointed at the incivility of your tone. You are an educated man. I don't see why this discussion has to degenerate into name-calling just because someone disagrees with your point of view. Certainly you are able to argue at a more sophisticated level than that. If the site houses IDNR administrative offices, there's no reason the hunting department shouldn't have an office there. But I agree with Karen that lakefront property is a weird place to have firearms classes. Use the strengths of the location. Unless IDNR is planning to teach people how to target seagulls and kids building sand castles, there's no reason firearms training has to take place at a beachfront location. And if we "libtards" (listen to much Rush, Jordan?) choose to deprive our children of the great American pastime of shooting things, that is our right, at least until the gun-obsessives figure out some way to force it on us.
Jordan S. Zoot January 09, 2014 at 04:16 PM
Mary....there was no suggestion of any kind that shooting activity take place at the beach. Given the history of Karen's comments and the tone of her post I stand by my choice of language and tone. Her comments and responses towards my comments have a long history and given the opportunity I wouldn't change a word. As for the choice to choose whether kids are exposed to shooting I agree that is a choice, at least you acknowledge that it is a choice to be made.....I doubt that Karen would permit anyone to have the option to choose if the decision was up to her.I actually don't listen to Rush...but, perhaps I should.
Mary January 09, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Jordan, how do they teach firearms courses, as you suggest in your initial post, without shooting?
Jordan S. Zoot January 09, 2014 at 04:38 PM
Speaking as an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor, a substantial portion of basic firearms classes are class room based. For example, the sixteen hour class required to obtain a Concealed Carry License in Illinois is approximately 14 hours of classroom instruction in safety, proper operation, function and cleaning of firearms and application of the law as it applies to deadly force. The final two hours do involve shooting and need to be conducted at a range. The majority of instructors use a classroom or a conference room in a hotel and then move to the range for that portion of a class. Further, substantially the entire Hunter Safety course can be taught without the participants every touching a firearm.
Mary January 09, 2014 at 05:48 PM
Since the building is owned by the city and may be in full or part leased by IDNR, a state agency, would concealed carry be allowed on the premises, Jordan?
Jordan S. Zoot January 09, 2014 at 06:02 PM
State government buildings have a general prohibition...however there is absolutely NOTHING in the concealed carry class that would be disallowed as indicated other than the range qualificaiton portion of the class there are no firearms involved. Further, hopefully as has happened in other states once the law is on the books eventually restrictions on locations are removed, and as such it is quite likely that while jails, courthouses, etc will remain restricted eventually the restriction on state government buildings will get lifted. There has always been a ban on Federal buildings and it has never been a problem. You might also want to remember that back in the day the Fullerton Gun Club actually had a shooting range on the Lake Michigan Beach at Diversey so there are always possibilities. Further, IDNR actually HAS CONSTRUCTED AND OWNS a number of public shooting ranges in other parts of Illinois so be careful what you wish for....while I doubt that it would happen stranger things have happened. Finally, the courts have ruled that Chicago is not legally able to prevent the construction of shooting ranges or retail firearm dealers within the City which means that the same rules are going to apply to Evanston. There are other uses which would also be interesting, such as the Illinois Dept. of Mental Health using space in the building to have an outpatient treatment facility for registered sex offenders....I bet Karen would like that much better than having anything to do with nasty hunters.
Mary January 09, 2014 at 08:26 PM
Jordan said: "There are other uses which would also be interesting, such as the Illinois Dept. of Mental Health using space in the building to have an outpatient treatment facility for registered sex offenders....I bet Karen would like that much better than having anything to do with nasty hunters.' I don't think the majority of Evanstonians would like either. As Karen said, it's on a park and family beach and whatever use it's put to should retain the family character of the place.
IllinoisLibertarian January 15, 2014 at 11:30 PM
Jordan- the thought of hunting and firearms goes way over most people's heads in this town. Many are ignorant and don't understand the hobbies, collecting, defensive and sporting uses of firearms. It's like trying to make people in rural North Carolina understand that gay marriage should be allowed. Mary- I like the lakefront ecology idea.
jim January 19, 2014 at 10:21 PM
Boutique Hotel with restaurants and shops would bring in lots of families. Create some good paying jobs
Frank Leeza February 05, 2014 at 03:03 PM
I thought the boutique hotel was a good idea too. They would've made the mansion beautiful and fixed up the park. I bet it would've become a destination and people would enjoy it. Oh well.

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