- Associated Press - Friday, October 14, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife are moving into a temporary home at the Illinois State Fairgrounds while renovation work is being done to the executive mansion.

Tours of the Illinois Executive Mansion will close to the public starting in January, The State Journal-Register (https://bit.ly/2dclLMr ) reported. The restoration project is expected to take 18 months.

“The Executive Mansion was neglected for years and left in disrepair,” Rauner said in the announcement. “This renovation will restore the building to ensure our future generations can enjoy and learn from its rich history.”

Other than emergency repairs, including to roof leaks that had damaged the interior, there have been no major updates to the home since the early 1970s.

Privately funded work on the mansion will be done under a memorandum of agreement with the Illinois Capital Development Board, which oversees state building projects. Illinois Executive Mansion Association spokesman Max Bever said O’Shea Builders was the lowest of five bidders for the restoration project.

Diana Rauner is heading up a private fundraising campaign to fund the estimated $15 million in restoration work. The association had raised $4.5 million as of July.

“When it reopens, the Illinois Executive Mansion will feature art exhibits that showcase Illinois artists, and an educational visitor’s center for school groups, along with some much needed updating,” Diana Rauner said in a statement.

Ward 2 Ald. Hermon Senor, who oversees the mansion’s block, believes the restoration on the 161-year-old home might raise public interest.


Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com

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