Monday, July 3, 2017

Grant Park fountain work shows the art of restoration

By Hillary Dickerson, Editor
Courtesy of Galena Gazette

GALENA–The fountain at Grant Park is taking center stage after months of restoration work. On Wednesday, June 28, Jeremy and Cory White, contractors for the project, turned on the water, stood back and marveled at the fountain’s beauty.

Added to the park in 1891, the fountain was last restored in 2004. As part of the ongoing Grant Park project, a partnership between the city and Galena Foundation, the fountain restoration–including caulking, painting, a new pump to improve the spray and miscellaneous work–is the latest improvement. The project budget was $15,000, with all expenses paid by the foundation. The bid from White Construction was for $14,000.

It’s been quite a project.

During the winter, the Whites removed the center sculpture and four cherubs, as well as the benches on the sidewalks surrounding the fountain. While the center sculpture is original, Jeremy said, the cherubs are all aluminum. No one is certain of the date they were replaced, but they appear very similar to the originals.

After inspecting the center sculpture, Jeremy found major issues that no one was aware of up to that point. He sought the assistance of Galena artist Charles Fach to make the repairs.

Fach, who knew full well what he was getting himself into, agreed. All together he spent 40-and-a-half-hours making a replacement foot and fingers and then ensuring the head was securely attached to the zinc casting sculpture that was soldered and pieced together.

In the end, Fach charged only $100 for his work, an amount included in the original bid; Fach was only interested in covering the cost of the materials he used in the process.

Fach said he found the head of the sculpture held on by a rotten piece of wood. He went to work, logging time each day. He created molds to make the melting lead pieces necessary, a multi-step process. All the pieces were attached with stainless steel screws.

When Fach was finished, the Whites painted the sculpture and put it in place.

“It ought to last a couple hundred years,” said Fach of the restored sculpture.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have (Fach),” said Jeremy, noting that the sculpture probably would have been taken to Chicago for the repair work if Fach hadn’t been able to take on the project. Jeremy estimates Fach’s work was worth at least $5,000.

The work has been significant for Jeremy as well. He remembers falling in the fountain as a child as he tried to grab the coins that had sunk to the bottom.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Galena Foundation to host Hunter Fuerste June 16

Courtesy of Galena Gazette

GALENA–The Galena Foundation announces its annual concert featuring Hunter Fuerste and his American Vintage Orchestra. This authentic re-creation of popular music from the big band era will take place at Turner Hall on Saturday, June 17 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Although donations are welcome at the door, admission to the concert is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Balcony and handicap-accessible seating on the lower level will be available. Attendees are also encouraged to hit the dance floor on the main level or just relax and listen to the sounds of the orchestra and featured singers.

All donations received will be used to support the work of the Galena Foundation. Recent foundation projects have included work at the Galena Train Depot, the Old Market House State Historical Site, Turner Hall and Grant Park.

Sponsors include Vincent, Roth, Toepfer & Leinen, P.C.; Ellen Steinbrecher; Prairie Ridge of Galena; Nack, Richardson & Nack, P.C.; Log Cabin Steakhouse and Gobbie’s Sports Pub and Eatery; La Vie en Rose; Illinois Bank & Trust; The Galena Gazette; Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery; Fried Green Tomatoes; First Community Bank of Galena and Apple River State Bank; DeSoto House Hotel; John and Bonnie Cox; Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers; Baranski Hammer Moretta & Sheehy Architects; and in memory of Annemarie E. Bluhm.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Foundation, city celebrate a public-private partnership that benefits the community

Courtesy of Galena Gazette

Foundation, city celebrate a public-private partnership that GALENA–The city of Galena joined with the Galena Foundation on Tuesday, April 18 for a Galena Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours. The aim of the event was simple: to celebrate public and private partnerships for the benefit of the community.

And Turner Hall–the site of the event–has certainly seen benefits from those partnerships.

On hand to celebrate were Charlie Marsden, chairman of the Turner Hall Project Committee, and Ken Robb, president of the Galena Foundation.

Marsden summarized the work done at Turner Hall, thanks to the contribution from the Galena Foundation. Some of the work included lighting control upgrade, interior lighting fixture restoration, rear stage wall reconstruction, exterior balcony painting, exterior cleaning, restroom updates, kitchen rewiring, tuckpointing and sealing, interior painting, new stage floor, complete refinishing and painting of interior and several more.

“This is the 35th anniversary of the Galena Foundation, founded in 1982. At one of our earliest meetings a small group of dedicated community members had a vision, to build an endowment to preserve, enhance, and protect Galena’s history, heritage and culture,” said Robb.

As the years passed, the Galena Foundation’s assets grew, now reaching over $895,000. “Thanks to the city of Galena for your partnership and for the generous support of many individuals in our community,” said Robb. “Beginning with our first project to restore the Old City Cemetery, this endowment has made it possible to fund more than 50 projects for a total investment in excess of $650,000 in our community since 1982.”

The next big Foundation project is the multi-year Grant Park restoration project. The Foundation intends to raise $200,000 to support this effort and has recently expanded the planning committee to partner with the city of Galena.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Grant Park work progresses

By Hillary Dickerson, Editor
Courtesy of Galena Gazette

GALENA–With work progressing on the joint Galena Foundation and city of Galena work at Grant Park, the city’s Grant Park committee turned its attention to an approaching fund-raising push.

Meeting Friday, April 21, committee members Paul Jackson, Ken Robb, Pat Smith, Joel Holland and committee chair Charles Marsden discussed a six-month push that will likely run from July 1 to the first of the year.

Committee members will start brainstorming potential donors.

The preliminary suggestion for the fund-raising goal is $250,000, with at least $50,000 coming from the Galena Foundation, Marsden said.

The campaign will be finalized by July 1, Marsden noted, and must be approved by Grant Park Committee and Galena Foundation board since the foundation will handle the campaign.

The committee also reviewed work on tree removal and pruning, seeding, the pavilion and fountain.

Additionally, the pergola will be cleaned and painted, and the granite on the Civil War monument and U.S. Grant statue will be pressure washed.

In terms of the work planned to refurbish the pavilion, City Administrator Mark Moran presented the committee with the request for quotes that will be distributed and available at The pavilion will be pressure washed, the open joints repaired, ceiling lights removed, loose stucco removed and replaced with mortar, cracks and joints sealed and the entire structure repainted, among other improvements. The work will be completed between July 2 and 28.

Grant Park committee’s next meeting will be Friday, May 19 at 10:30 a.m. at Galena City Hall.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Celebrating Success

By Hillary Dickerson, Editor
Courtesy of Galena Gazette

GALENA–The Galena Foundation celebrated at its annual meeting on Wednesday, March 29 at the DeSoto House Hotel. Attendees celebrated a year of projects; honored Charlie Marsden, outgoing board president; presented the Frank L. Einsweiler Award for historic preservation to Terry Cole; and elected board officers.

The Einsweiler award is given each year to an individual who has “contributed significantly” to historic preservation efforts in the Galena area, according to Beth Baranski, Foundation vice president, who introduced Cole.

Einsweiler served as Galena mayor for four terms as well as served on the community’s planning commission for 25 years.

Baranski noted, “This year’s recipient has been involved in historic preservation in our area for many years, in many ways and many levels. His personal and professional commitment has played an important role in establishing Galena as a respected model for historic preservation.”

Baranski also cited Cole’s service as mayor and his involvement in the rebuilding of the Meeker Street pedestrian bridge, the creation of the “Galena Historic Preservation Guidebook,” designed to help residents to better understand preservation ordinances, and the installation of the Main Street light posts.

Also cited was Cole’s business, Renaissance Restoration, that was featured in a 2007 edition of Remodeling Magazine as one of the 50 companies that “exemplify best practices in business systems, customer service, workmanship and support of their employees, communities and the profession as a whole.”
Baranski noted, “Terry’s business has developed experience throughout the Midwest in downtown revitalization, orphanage complexes, museums, jails, educational institutions, ag buildings, churches, railroad depots and residential programs.”

Included on that list are a number of Galena properties his firm has restored as well as his relationship with the Campbell Center. He also served on The Galena Foundation board.

For Cole, receiving this award is especially meaningful due to the role Einsweiler played in his life. Cole told the crowd, “Frank was my mentor. I started my business with no experience. When I’d go to city hall, I’d go into his office and we’d talk for an hour.

“What I didn’t know was that he was priming me for his job.”

He noted that one of the interesting things with his company “is that when the phone rings, you never know if it’s about a log cabin or a governor’s mansion.”

The Foundation also honored Marsden, who is leaving after nine years of service on the board, including the last five years as president.

Ken Robb, incoming Foundation president, noted that the Foundation has achieved many things during Marsden’s tenure on the board. Legacy membership increased from 60 to 150 members; annual meeting attendance has increased and the Foundation’s assets have increased from $753,000 to $896,000.

And, during that time, the Foundation has provided funding of $519,000 for more than 30 projects including restorations of the Grant Park gazebo, train station, Turner Hall and Grant Park.

Robb stated, “Charlie, your contributions have been many and your efforts have been much appreciated.” Robb also quoted one of Marsden’s frequent comments, “No one retires from the Galena Foundation Board,” meaning that Marsden still had work as chair of the Turner Hall and Grant Park committees.

For his part, Marsden gave credit to all the people who have served on the Foundation board before and during his involvement and that having the opportunity to contribute something to the community “is a great part of my life. It’s been a really great ride.”

At the meeting’s start, Marsden reviewed some of the Foundation’s successes.

He stressed the importance of the Joe Miller Trust, which is administered through Illinois Bank & Trust Co., and said it was the greatest public/private partnership program in the community’s history.

When established in 2009, the trust had assets of $450,146 and today has assets of $550,000. In that time, Marsden said, the Foundation, through the trust has supported projects totaling $231,000, including $33,000 for Turner Hall restoration this year. Another $30,000 is dedicated from the trust for Turner Hall in 2017, part of a $200,000 multiyear commitment.

The next big Foundation project is the multi-year Grant Park restoration project. The Foundation intends to raise $200,000 to support this effort and has recently expanded the planning committee to partner with the city of Galena.

Other action taken at the annual meeting involved election of officers: Robb, president; Baranski, vice president; Jamie Loso, secretary; and David Wilmarth, treasurer.

Upcoming Foundation activities include:

•Galena Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, Tuesday, April 18 at Turner Hall. Includes a combined presentation of the city of Galena and The Galena Foundation.

•Hunter Fuerste Concert, Saturday, June 17 at Turner Hall.

•Legacy Luncheon, Sept. 15 at the Old City Cemetery.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Grant Park work is underway

By Hillary Dickerson, Editor
Courtesy of Galena Gazette

GALENA–Grant Park is getting a make over, thanks to the Galena Foundation and the city of Galena.

During the Monday, Feb. 27 Galena City Council meeting, the council approved four recommendations from the newly-formed Grant Park committee.

For a total cost of $13,500, paid by the Galena Foundation, the park’s fountain will be completely restored.

The contract with White Construction includes repairing the center figurine, walnut blasting all figurines and repainting, sandblasting all surfaces of the fountain to remove paint, repairing all cracks, painting the fountain, replacing plumbing to the figurines to restore the original fan spray pattern and installing a filter on the pump.

The four benches around the fountain will be sandblasted and repainted for $500. Full funding will be provided by the Galena Foundation.

The third Galena Foundation project, at a cost of $11,500, will be to reconstruct and plant the landscape beds surrounding the fountain, remove all urns from the fountain (they were not original) and use one of the urns in each of the four landscaped beds around the fountain.

The city crew, for an estimated cost of $200, will remove the plantings in landscape beds that form a diamond shape to the west of the fountain, remove narrow concrete edging and return the landscape beds to grass.

Other work

In addition to the fountain restoration and the gardens around the fountain, the committee, meeting Feb. 17, also talked about other projects that are in the works.

Dan Cole and his crew have been working throughout the winter on tree removal and pruning at the park.

Ken Robb, a committee member, reported that Cole has made considerable progress. There were originally 90 trees in the park, with 21 of those trees recommended for removal. Seventeen of the trees have been removed, and there are 35 trees designated for trimming.

As with any project, there are funding needs. The committee briefly touched upon future plans to raise a minimum of $200,000 to help fund the improvements to the park.

There was discussion about a campaign that would allow donors to honor or memorialize loved ones by donating to specific projects. Plaques would be placed at the site and the donors would be publicly recognized as well.

Plans are also underway to assess the current conditions of the stone Civil War monument and the Grant statue.

The White Construction lift will be used to better assess the condition when the fountain restoration work is taking place.

The next Grant Park committee meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m. at city hall.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Miller Trust funds go to Turner Hall

By Hillary Dickerson, Editor
Courtesy of Galena Gazette

GALENA–The work on Turner Hall continues.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, the Galena Foundation, which is working with the city of Galena to complete projects at the historic structure on Bench Street, received the annual grant payment from the Joseph Miller Charitable Trust.

Attending the check presentation from the Joe Miller Trust to the Galena Foundation for phase two of the Turner Hall project are, from left: Beth Baranski, Charles Fach, Ken Robb, Adam Johnson, Charles Marsden, Libby Miller, Kay Fitzsimons, Mark Moran, Jeremy White, Janelle Keeffer, Craig Albaugh and Gavin Doyle. Hillary Dickerson photo

This year’s grant, for $33,971, will be used to help fund phase two projects, many of which have already been completed.

Phase two projects include lighting control upgrade, interior lighting fixture restoration, rear stage wall reconstruction, exterior balcony painting, exterior cleaning, restroom updates, kitchen rewiring, tuckpointing and sealing, interior painting, new stage floor, complete refinishing and painting of interior and several more.

According to Kay Fitzsimons, wealth advisor for Illinois Bank & Trust, which oversees the Miller Trust, the first grant was issued in 2009, the year after Miller, a lifelong Galena resident, died at age 79.

Since that time, the trust has granted $231,034.81 “for civic improvements, historical preservation, interpretation and enhancements and cultural development in the city of Galena with an emphasis on tangible works and improvement projects.”

Some of the projects for which Miller funds have been used, in addition to the Turner Hall project, include restoration of the Old Train Depot, renovations to the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum, Galena ARC chimney restoration, old high school steps signage, Galena Public Library exterior repair and maintenance, Galena Historic District survey, renovation of the Old Market House State Historic Site and renovation of the Hess farm house on Ferry Landing Road.

City officials point to the work already completed as being a tremendous boon in drawing people and events to the city-owned facility.

Janelle Keeffer, city facilities manager, reported that in 2015, 23 events were held at Turner Hall with the hall booked for 92 days, drawing revenue of $9,265.

In 2016, the numbers climbed to 27 events, 133 days booked and revenue of $24,255.

And in 2017, the numbers go up again with 51 events, 156 days booked and projected revenue of $39,075.

“Turner Hall continues to be a building that represents and celebrates community. Our events are diverse and the rental structure helps provide an affordable option for a variety of different uses–by our school, theater groups, concerts, dances, the Winter Marketplace, health fairs, elections, Boy Scouts and private events such as weddings and receptions,” said Keeffer. “Our building enhancements are focused on improving energy efficiency as well as overall functionality and aesthetics. Our improvements are not only generating more rentals, but also decreasing expenditures on cost of operation.”