The 102-year-old Black Hawk Statue may soon be getting a much needed facelift.
Frank Rausa, a member of The Friends of the Blackhawk Statue Committee, announced Jan. 27 that the organization has reached 92.8 percent of the estimated $625,000 needed to restore the statue.
"The Jeffris Family Foundation, Janesville, Wis., awarded our group a $150,000 matching grant and the grant provides a 50 percent match for all contributions received since July 2012," said Rausa in a press release.
With the grants, donations, and pledges received in the past 5 years since 2008, Rausa said "there is light at the end of the tunnel and we're hopeful to collect the remaining $45,000 within the next six months!"
The statue is located Lowden State Park and under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Robert Appleman, operations officer for the IDNR's Office of Architecture, Engineering and Grants, said more than half of the money will come from a $350,000 grant the IDNR received from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
"We are working to put together a project that uses state and local funding," he said Tuesday.
The money will come from local donations received as well as funds raised during the annual Oregon Trail Days festival held at Lowden Park since 2010.
Appleman said that the statue is currently in the "Design and Engineering" stage of the restoration process and the IDNR is in the process of selecting an architectural and engineering firm to oversee the restoration.
Once a firm is selected, extensive physical testing and examination will occur on the statue. A laser scanning will provide a permanent record of the statue and include drawings, plans, and elevations of the statue for use in the current restoration and in future years.
Physical testing and concrete samples will be taken from the statue to determine the extent of deterioriation since the statue was last examined 5 years ago.
These concrete samples will be subjected to a petrographic examination and materials testing in order to develop repair materials that are historically compatible, Rausa said.
"And lastly, mock-ups of the statue will be constructed until an acceptable concrete mix has been developed that matches, as closely as possible, the type, color, and texture of the concrete used when the statue was constructed in 1911," Rausa said. "Hopefully, restoration can begin in the summer of 2014 or sooner."
Appelman said the materials and process used in the restoration are temperature sensitive, which means the work will need to be done during the warmer months of the year.
Rausa said donations are still needed.
"Anyone wishing to make a donation to help us obtain the $45,000 needed to realize our final goal of $625,000, can make a tax deductible donation to the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702 and be sure to write in the memo field of your check 'Black Hawk Statue'."
Created by sculptor Lorado Taft in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the statue needs the repairs due to the ravages of weather and time.The 48-foot-tall landmark is located on a 125-foot bluff overlooking the Rock River north of Oregon. It draws 400,000 visitors a year, tourism officials say.