Subscribe to the Oregon Republican Reporter, Mt Morris Times, Tri-County Press and Forreston Journal

Even with grant, $300,000 still needed for Black Hawk repairs

Even with a state grant on the way, the Black Hawk Restoration Team has to raise the better part of $300,000 for repairs to the area’s best known landmark.

The $350,000 state grant approved recently by the Illinois General Assembly, is a matching grant, which means private donors must come up with an equal amount, or in this case slightly more than that, to fix the Black Hawk statue at Lowden State Park.

The grant is a 51-49 match, and the 51 percent must come from private sources.

At a meeting Monday morning that included State Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), Restoration Team Chairman Jan Stilson said the estimated cost of the repairs currently sits at $600,000.

The fund for the statue’s repair has $59,000 in it.

Demmer was on hand to answer questions and to present official copies of the resolution that released the grant money to Stilson and Oregon Mayor Ken Williams.

The grant was approved in 2009, but remained tied up by state budget woes until last month. 

Demmer said that the money previously spent on the preparation work for the repairs to the 107-year-old concrete statue will not be considered as part of the private matching funds.

“Past contracts don’t count,” he said.

The preparation work was done under a contract with then-project conservator Andrzej Dajnowski, from Conservation of Sculpture & Objects Studio, Forest Park.

Quality Restorations Inc., of Wood Dale, has been chosen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to finish the job, although a contract has not yet been signed, Demmer said.

The money to pay for the preparation work, which included repair specifications, laser scans, and chemical and structural analyses of the concrete, came from the approximately $500,000 raised by the Friends of the Black Hawk Statue, headed by Sterling resident Frank Rausa.

The $31,000 left from those funds is part of the $59,000, mostly of which is in a fund held by the Illinois Conservation Foundation in Springfield.

Demmer said that while spending the grant money has no time limit, anything remaining in the fund when the state’s fiscal year ends June 30, 2019 could be delayed by another budget impasse.

He also pointed out that the grant will match only its share of what the repairs cost. For example, if the repair work comes to only $500,000, the state will pay 49 percent of that or just less than $250,000.

However, he said the grant will cover work needed around the base of the statue, as well as the repairs to its surface.

Restoration Team Member Karly Spell asked Demmer is QRI is knowledgable about how to repair the concrete mixture the statue was made of back in December of 1910.

Demmer assured her that the firm has the necessary expertise.

Spell also asked if Dajnowski might be hired back to finish the job he began back in 2014.

“No,” Demmer replied.

After a dispute between Dajnowski and then-project engineer Amy Lamb Woods in 2015, the IDNR and Dajnowski did not renew their contract.

Stilson said the committee would like assurances that QRI will follow Dajnowski’s recommendations.

Restoration Team member Bill Hefty said the work will not take long once the contracts are in place.

“Quality Restorations can do the restoration fairly quickly - in 60 days,” he said.

The Restoration Team also discussed several fundraisers that are planned in upcoming weeks.

An account for donations has been set up at the Stillman Bank, and checks should be made out to Oregon Together: Black Hawk Restoration.

For more information contact Stilson at 815-668-1339 or