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Gwen Sommers Yant       Our Other Experts

Gwen Sommers Yant is a historic preservation planner with a broad spectrum of preservation experience spanning 20 years. She has been an associate of Susan Benjamin since 1999, during which time she has been responsible for executing tax certifications for historic residential and commercial properties, for preservation planning projects and for completing local and National Register landmark nominations. Prior to joining Susan Benjamin's team, she was the Preservation Coordinator for the City of Evanston Historic Preservation Commission. In that capacity, as the city's Department of Planning Division Head for Preservation, she held a myriad of responsibilities that included staffing the Preservation Commission, conducting Federal Section 106 review, participating as a member of the city's Site Plan Review team, reviewing building permits for Evanston Landmarks, supervising the landmark survey and designation process and working on preservation legislation--including supervising the updating of the City's historic preservation ordinance and the drafting/execution of a planned unit development ordinance for the preservation and architecturally sensitive development of an historic estate. She also administered the Preservation Commission's "Project 65", a curriculum-based architectural education program for Kindergarten through 8th grade. Other responsibilities included planning educational events for adults and youth, working as liaison with the non-profit Evanston citizens' preservation organization and serving as local chairman for the Illinois Statewide Historic Preservation Conference. She earned a Citation of Excellence from the city of Evanston for this effort.

Ms. Yant served on the staff of the City of Chicago's Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks prior to her work for the City of Evanston. She was a member of the original survey team that organized and began the comprehensive Chicago Historic Resources Survey. Earlier, she received an internship at the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Ms. Yant's appointments include the Village of Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission, the Village of Kenilworth Building Review [Demolition] Commission, and presently, the Village of Kenilworth Plan Commission. She is a director of the Kenilworth Historical Society where, as Chair of the Society's Children's Museum, she curated an Illinois State Historical Society "Superior Achievement Award"- winning exhibit. She also presently serves on the Kenilworth Assembly Hall Architectural Rehabilitation Committee. Ms. Yant is a past member of the board of the Illinois Association of Historic Preservation Commissions and Junior League of Evanston Community Board of Advisors and has served on the Kenilworth Garden Council's Mahoney Park [Jens Jensen] Committee. She is a recipient of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois Outstanding Volunteer Award and has served as juror for Preservation Awards in many Chicago suburbs. Gwen is a frequent speaker on historic preservation.

Ms. Yant holds a BA in history from Purdue University and an MA in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University.