- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A private fundraising campaign to restore the governor’s mansion in Springfield has received about $4.5 million toward its estimated goal of $15 million.

The goal is to complete the work at the historic Illinois Executive Mansion before Illinois statehood’s 200th anniversary in 2018.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana Rauner, began the campaign last year, pledging that no taxpayer dollars will be spent to restore the 161-year-old home after decades of neglect.

“I don’t believe that the state needs to choose between education and human services and art and history,” said Diana Rauner, who serves as chairwoman of the Illinois Executive Mansion Association, the nonprofit that serves as the fundraising organization for the project. “We need to do both.”

She said that there are also plans to create a public entrance on the north side of the mansion grounds, a visitors center on the ground floor and regular exhibits of fine-art collections owned by or on loan to the state.

“We really want to open up the building visually and really appreciate it,” Diana Rauner said.

Chicago-based Vinci Hamp Architects will oversee the renovation. Vinci Hamp said the changes will also bring the home into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The renovation work will be bid and completed through an agreement with the Illinois Capital Development Board, which oversees state bids and constructions projects, Diana Rauner said.

The last major renovation of the governor’s official residence occurred from 1970 to 1972. Since then, there has been significant deterioration of the home, including roof leaks, water damage to walls and floors, crumbling masonry, cracked sidewalks, rotted wood and peeling paint.

About 1,000 association members have joined the campaign. Memberships range from $50 to $5,000, according to the mansion website.

“We’re hoping for donors at every possible level,” Diana Rauner said. “It’s a state building for the whole of Illinois, and we’re hoping others will be excited about this, too.”

The four-story home is the third oldest continuously occupied governor’s mansion in the country. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide