- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

LECLAIRE, Iowa (AP) - A 7½-ton rock has been lowered into place along the Mississippi River in LeClaire as residents work to establish another “freedom rock.”

When it’s completed, the Scott County boulder will be the 49th Iowa county with a rock covered by a patriotic mural painted by artist Ray Sorensen. He wants to paint such murals in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

As a crane lowered the boulder into place Saturday, LeClaire resident Tonia Kennedy told the Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/TJOo4Y ) it’s been a year since she began working to create a freedom rock in LeClaire.

“We’ve come a long way in a year,” Kennedy said. “It’s very exciting. What a way to kick off the Fourth of July!”

Kennedy and others who have joined the effort are trying to raise $15,000 to cover Sorensen’s expenses and other costs. Businesses have donated the cost of acquiring and delivering the boulder, which was mined in the St. Louis area.

Since first being contacted by Kennedy, LeClaire Councilman Barry Long said he and others have been working hard to raise money for the project. Long noted $1,000 raised by a dunk tank at the community’s Apple Fest in October and another $1,000 contributed by the Tug Fest organization.

“I didn’t know who Tonia Kennedy was when she emailed me,” Long said. “I thought she wanted to have a Freedom Rock concert on the levee. Ever since her second email, we’ve been out raising money.”

Besides raising money, Kennedy said residents also need to decide the elements in the Scott County mural.

“As a county, we need to come up with ideas of what depicts Scott County,” Kennedy said. “Every mural is different. We are open to ideas. If somebody has ideas, we want to hear about it.”

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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