Conover project gets large donation

© 2017-Ogle County Life

OREGON – On Oct. 5 Rick Ryland, president of Hands On Oregon (HOO), received a call from the president of Tip Top Roofing and Construction Company from Sycamore, who are putting up the steel siding on Conover Square.

The estimated cost would be $15,000 more and that does not include how we are going to cap off the top edge.

Friday morning, Oct. 6, Ryland checked the PO Box for Hands On Oregon and found an anonymous donation for $75,000 for the continued restoration of Conover Square.

Anonymous donations to HOO have been very unusual. Four have been given: the first on March 14, 2016 for $15,000; the second on January 4, 2017 for $25,000; third on May 15th $50,000, and the Biggest Surprise on October 6, 2017 for $75,000. The Best Donor in Illinois has contributed $165,000 to the Love Our Flag project and the continued restoration of Conover Square.

Conover Square Mall is one of the last piano factories still standing. In 1900 there were more than 10,000 piano factories worldwide, more than half were in the United States. Now only 6 remain. Conover Square is one of them.

HOO’s first project is repairing the south wall of Conover Square for the economic well-being of the city of Oregon. The stucco wall put on in the 1970’s had deteriorated. The building was in danger of being shut down because the stucco was falling off and the studs behind had rotted. HOO’s volunteers took down the stucco, reinforced the 2x6 walls, insulated and sheeted the wall and covered it in Tyvek. This was the first half of Phase 1 of the project. The donation of Jan. 4 allowed HOO to hire professional help to complete the upper stories. Tip Top Roofing and Construction of Sycamore completed all of Phase 1 in record time – and under budget.

“Now with this incredible donation from the greatest donor ever we can finish the love our flag project on the South wall and address roof leaks and air conditioning issues,” Ryland said.

The design of the east end of the wall will include the American flag. It will be 60 feet long and three stories high. The red, white and blue will be easily seen as people cross the bridge entering Oregon.

Other donors include NICOR Gas, Eagle’s Nest Art Group, Blackhawk Model Railroad Club, and Oregon’s Woman’s Club. The city of Oregon also provided a $1000 façade grant. Hector’s Cocina and Conover Chocolates, both businesses in Conover, have provided food for the volunteers working on the project. Fischer’s Inc. of Oregon has donated printing. HOO particularly thanks the many private individuals too numerous to mention. These donations total nearly $12,000.

To contribute to Hands On Oregon make checks payable to Blackhawk Hills Regional Council. On the memo line write Hands On Oregon. Checks can be mailed to Hands On Oregon, PO Box 244, Oregon, IL 61061. All contributions are tax deductible.


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