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Concrete plans: Work can finally proceed on Black Hawk repairs

September 25, 2018

OREGON – It’s finally official — enough money has been raised to go ahead with making the long-awaited repairs to the Black Hawk Statue, and work could begin by spring.

“At least $225,000 is now available to match the grant from the the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity,” Eric Schenck, executive director of the Illinois Conservation Foundation, said Tuesday. “Some of the money is in the form of pledges, not checks. We are extremely confident we have the money and everything we need to proceed.”

Schenck said the money raised in the past few months by the Oregon Together Black Hawk Restoration Team means contracts can be signed and work can proceed. He announced the news Friday at the annual ICF Gala in Springfield, where members of the Oregon community were among those honored.

“We wanted to recognize and thank those from the Oregon community who worked so diligently to raise this money,” he said. 

Schenck said the Illinois Department of Conservation, which has jurisdiction over the statue, is working with Quality Restorations Inc. of Wood Dale to get concrete mixes prepared for the repairs, and a contract is being drawn up between the IDNR, ICF, and Quality Restorations Inc. for the repair work.

“Most likely what we’re looking at is a spring start for the restoration work,” Schenck said.

Time and weather have taken a toll on the local landmark created by sculptor Lorado Taft in 1910 as a tribute to Native Americans. The sculpture is riddled with cracks, and chunks of concrete have fallen way.

The 48-foot statue, situated on a bluff overlooking the Rock River at Lowden State Park near Oregon, will most likely be wrapped in the upcoming weeks to protect it from the winter weather, Schenck said. It has spent the last four winters in protective wrappings.

Schenck said maintenance of the 107-year-old statue will be an ongoing project, even after the repairs are completed next year.

“It’s not one and done,” he said. “There’s a lot that will need to be done to keep this iconic statue in good condition and accessible to the public.”

Want to help?

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} Donations for Black Hawk’s restoration and maintenance can be made at ilcf.org, or mailed to Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.

For more information call Black Hawk Restoration Team Chairman Jan Stilson at 815-732-7439. 

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