New owner, same name for historic River Forest building

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Like the Coonley Coach House in Riverside, the historic River Forest Women's Club has also been the subject of public controversy. But as of June 21, the River Forest Women's Club has new owners, Paul and Ellen Coffey. The name, however, remains the same.

Paul Coffey, whose family was thrust into the center of an unpleasant controversy in the month leading up to the purchase, politely declined to discuss his plans for renovating the deteriorating structure on Monday, citing a desire to regain the peace and privacy lost to the recent controversy.

However, the exterior of the building was protected when the Coffeys donated a preservation easement to the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. In return for receiving a charitable deduction on their federal income taxes, the Coffeys have agreed not to change the home's facade without approval of the council.

Also, public records on file with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds indicate that at least River Forest Women's Club (RFWC) members have little or nothing to worry about with the Coffeys' ownership.

In a rider to the terms and conditions of the sale of the structure, the Coffeys agree to refer to the building in any public documents as "The River Forest Women's Club," and to display the name plaque somewhere on the renovated building. In addition, they agree to retain the building's performance stage, permit the RFWC the right to store whatever furniture was in the building at closing, and to allow the grand piano and framed flag owned by the club to remain in the building for as long as the club owns those items.

The RFWC also has a one time, 10-day window on the right of first refusal should the Coffeys ever decide to sell the property.

?#34; Bill Dwyer

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