There’s an effort underway to raise at least $200,000 in private donations to repair and restore some of the monuments on the statehouse grounds.
“We need to take care of them for the future generations that are to come,” Iowa Capitol Planning Commission chairman Bill Dikis said. “Weather and time just take their toll, no matter what material it is — stone, bronze — it all needs attention over time.”
For 25 years, Dikis was the architect in charge of the project to restore the capitol building. He’s now a volunteer on the project to restore some of the 44 statues, fountains and memorial “markers” on the state capitol complex.
“I think they enrich the capitol complex a great deal,” Dikis said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “We’ve already got some beautiful buildings there and these add a great more of interest to the complex of 183 acres of so.”
The Soldiers and Sailors monument recognizing Iowans who served in the Civil War sits directly south of the capitol. It was completed in 1896 and the elements are taking a toll on the 135-foot-tall monument, according to Dikis.
“It’s my favorite, for sure,” Dikis said. “I think it’s really quite beautiful.”
Another monument that needs attention is a water fountain that was installed to celebrate the bicentennial. It’s located on the west steps of the state capitol.
Memorials on the statehouse grounds that were installed after 1984 have endowment funds which provide for upkeep, but installations before that date need attention according to Dikis.
The 2016 legislature set aside up to $100,000 in matching fund for upkeep of these monuments, if the private fundraising effort raises $200,000 by 2018. About $1500 has been raised so far. The fundraiser formally kicks off tonight with a presentation at the “Yankee Doodle Pops” concert on the capitol steps.
The mailing address for sending donations is below.
Monument Restoration Fund
Iowa Department of Administrative Services
1305 East Walnut, 3rd Floor Finance
Des Moines, Iowa 50319