- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Sandra Lofland-Brown said she’d do it whatever it took - even if it meant selling pencils on the street.

Last month, it came to just that.

After 20 years of fundraising for the restoration of the clock tower atop the Montgomery County Courthouse, Lofland-Brown took her cause to the streets of Crawfordsville, hoping to raise awareness and funds for the project. She asked people to donate what they wanted for the pencils.

The effort brought in about $20, but officials are still seeking an additional $100,000 for the restoration project. The idea to sell pencils came after Lofland-Brown said she’d do whatever it took to restore the clock tower.

She serves on a committee through the Montgomery County Historical Society that has made the restoration of the clock tower - which was removed in 1941 after a painter said it was leaning, according to Lofland-Brown - a priority. The group was established in 1996 by Dr. Marion Kirtley, a local pediatrician who died in 2000.

In the past 20 years, Lofland-Brown said the committee has raised about $300,000 through 40 fundraisers for the project, which she hopes will be complete by the state’s bicentennial celebration on Dec. 11.

Lofland-Brown said she promised Kirtley she would restore the clock tower, joking she would sell pencils on the street if she had to.

“We’re trying to raise awareness that we need to raise the rest of the money,” Lofland-Brown said. “Hundreds of people have donated to this project. Lately, we decided we need to have a big push to finish this project.”

Lofland-Brown, 76, hasn’t let any setbacks, including a battle with breast cancer, get in her way. She said the clock tower will be an important symbol above the courthouse once it is in place.

“I think it will leave a lasting legacy to the community. It’s timely that we get it finished,” she said.

Although some individuals have questioned whether the restoration will become a realization, she said she intends to follow through with Kirtley’s wishes even if it isn’t completed in time for the bicentennial.

“He said, ‘All I want for my birthday is to finish the tower,’” Lofland-Brown said, reflecting on a conversation the pair had shortly before his death. “I really feel like since we started selling pencils on the street that we’ve shown people we’re going to do it. It is our passion.

“It’s not a throwaway project.”

The group recently received $2,000 from Crawfordsville Main Street, a group focused on improving the city’s downtown.

And Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton said the city has committed $35,000 toward the project. Barton said once the clock tower is in place, it will change the look and feel of the area.

“I think this is a nice piece that fits well with other (projects),” he said. “It will add a great deal to our downtown.”

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Source: (Lafayette) Journal & Courier, http://on.jconline.com/1UgpM0u

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Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com

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