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Reagan statue effort underway

Former president as a lifeguard to be captured in bronze at Lowell Park

Published: Friday, July 12, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – There’s been talk for years of putting up a Ronald Reagan statue in Lowell Park.

Now, a committee led by Mayor Jim Burke is working to make that a reality.

The objective is to design, create and build a 7-foot bronze sculpture of a young Reagan as a lifeguard. The cost is estimated at $120,000 and construction could take 10 to 12 months.

Reagan is said to have saved 77 lives while working as a lifeguard at Lowell.

The location for the statue has not been determined, nor has a design.

The committee working to make the project a reality has reached out to the Rotblatt-Amrany Studio in Highwood, a Chicago suburb. The studio is nationally known for such works as the Michael Jordan statute in front of the United Center in Chicago and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar statue in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Burke said the team is impressed with the studio and set on commissioning its services for the project.

Funding would come from foundations and corporate donations, not limited to those in Dixon, Burke said. City money would not be used, although Dixon Tourism could put money toward the effort, Burke said.

It’s likely Dixon Tourism would create a subcommittee to explore fundraising, coordinate design plans and installation.

The goal is to have plans in place to start the project by the end of this year, Burke said.

There have been talks about recreating the beach where Reagan was a lifeguard, but not allowing visitors to swim there. The park district still has the lifeguard chair Reagan used; it may be incorporated into the park plans, Burke said.

“I think it would be a great experience to have that there for people going to Lowell Park,” he said. “A lot of people go there to see where Reagan was a lifeguard. I think this could be a real attraction, and it’s way overdue.”

Lowell Park is run by the Dixon Park District, and Burke said the committee has its blessing to proceed. Park Board President Ron Pritchard and Executive Director Deb Carey are on the committee.

Other committee members are Burke, City Commissioner Colleen Brechon, Riverfront Chairman Larry Reed, Dixon Tourism President Vicky Turner, Dixon Main Street Executive Director Josh Albrecht, and Jeff Lovett and Ann Lewis.

To donate

Anyone wishing to donate, or who has questions about the project, can call Dixon City Hall at 815-288-1485.

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