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Black Hawk restoration to begin this summer

Studies, laser scan on tap first; repairs will start in spring

Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

OREGON – Studies will be done this summer on how best to repair Oregon’s best-known landmark.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has chosen an architectural firm with “expertise in artistic projects” to examine the damage and document needed repairs to the 102-year-old Black Hawk statue, IDNR spokesman Chris McCloud said Tuesday.

The firm will submit its findings on the statue in Lowden State Park by fall; repair work is slated to begin in spring 2014.

All of the money needed has been secured. McCloud said. Although he did not have an exact amount, previous estimates have put the bill at $625,000.

The ravages of time and weather have caused the statue to crack, and large pieces of its concrete surface have dislodged. The folded arms of the 50-foot monolith have been especially affected.

More than half the money is coming from a $350,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Jeffris Family Foundation, of Janesville, Wis., gave a $150,000 matching grant, and the rest came from donations and money raised during the annual Oregon Trail Days festival.

Frank Rausa, a member of The Friends of the Blackhawk Statue Committee, said in January that the architects will conduct extensive tests. A laser scanning will provide a permanent record of the statue that includes drawings, plans, and elevations that can be used now and in future restorations.

Created by sculptor Lorado Taft in 1911, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the statue is on a 125-foot bluff overlooking the Rock River north of Oregon. It draws 400,000 visitors a year, tourism officials say.

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