More than $10,000 in donations for Burnham move to be returned


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CHAMPAIGN — More than $10,000 in community donations toward the Burnham Mansion project will be refunded now that the historic home is slated for demolition by Unit 4.

Winnetka preservationist Chris Enck confirmed the decision to WDWS 1400-AM on Tuesday in his first public comments since the school district announced a day earlier that the months-long effort to save the historic home was over.

Monday was Enck's deadline to show school officials proof that he'd bought a relocation site for the 10,000-square-foot mansion, which stands in the path of Central High School's expansion. Unit 4 had granted the University of Illinois alum multiple extensions for the project, which he'd sought private investors to help fund.

Enck also launched a GoFundMe campaign online, which 155 donors contributed to. He said he plans to return that money.

In an email to WDWS on Tuesday, Enck struck a similar tone as he did in a Friday note to project supporters, saying in part: "As you can imagine, it was a great disappointment, as I, among many others, have invested a great deal of time and effort into the project and have been optimistic about how far we were getting with the logistics of making the project happen.

"Unfortunately, the schedule had no cushion in it, and when we got delayed with the financing, that threw off the whole schedule and forced us to miss our last deadline with the school district, causing them to terminate the project yesterday."

WDWS Reporter

Tim Ditman is a reporter at WDWS 1400-AM. His email is