Archive for Thursday, February 23, 2006

Brick sale kicks off fund-raising for statue

February 23, 2006

It began with the sale of one brick. If everything goes as planned, it will end with a bronze landmark.

The Eudora Lions Club and the city of Eudora began what could prove to be an extensive fund-raising effort to bring the likeness of the city's namesake, Eudora Fish, to town in time for the city's 2007 sesquicentennial.

"I really think it takes us back to our roots," Eudora Lions Club president Tom Tucker said.

The fund-raising effort will combine money raised from the concerted work of the two organizations and strive to find funds through grants and historical societies throughout the area.

Funds have already started trickling in, making it appear that this project for Eudora Fish is starting to take shape.

During the Feb. 15 Eudora City Council meeting, City Administrator Cheryl Beatty proposed a motion that would free up park improvement funds to help pay for the statue.

The same proposal designated a line item on the city's budget to store funds raised by other efforts in the city.

The council agreed to an initial payment of $30,000 to apply toward the project.

"It would again not be spending tax dollars, it would be spending park improvement funds that came from the government monies," Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle said during the meeting.

The city council vowed support for the project since it was first brought up last month.

"My idea was that if we're going to use taxpayers' dollars for the statue, then the city as an entity should do all it can to raise money so it's less tax money they're using," Councilmember Scott Hopson said.

To supplement the park improvement funds, the city discussed selling scrap metal or salvage equipment and donating the proceeds toward the statue.

For the Lions Club, fund-raising ideas are still materializing.

Several events are in the works such as a concert and a bingo soup night.

"There are just some things we need to get down," Tucker said. "We can't go out with a half-baked idea."

Although other ideas seem to be picking up organizational steam the Club will sell bricks for $50 apiece with an inscription of the buyer's name. The bricks will surround the statue once it's in place.

To further supplement the fund-raiser, the Lions Club vowed to put in $10 for every brick sold, Tucker said.

The first brick was sold to a Lions Club member from Overland Park who showed excitement for the project, Tucker said.

"The brick sale is going to be our number one dollar producer," Tucker said.

An order form and sample bricks could be ready for the public as early as next week, Tucker said.

The early fund-raising start could prove critical because the project could face a deadline issue if it's going to be unveiled by the 2007 EudoraFest.

From design to casting, the creation could take more than a year, Tucker said.

The project seems to be taking a life of its own aesthetically because of a change in the statue's concept.

Since the beginning, Tucker, who has been doing extensive research on Fish, has had problems finding a suitable picture of her.

Jim Brothers, the Lawrence artist whom Tucker has been working with on design, suggested instead of having the statue of Fish herself, he would create a statue of Eudora when she was 9, holding the hand of her father, Shawnee Chief Paschal Fish.

The scene would represent the time when the town was officially named.

"It would allow your mind to imagine more than just a statue of a very cold-looking Eudora," Beatty said.

Tucker envisioned the project topping out at $60,000: $40,000 for the statue and $20,000 for the base.

"That's where all the cost is at ---- welding the bronze," Tucker said.

With the first steps already taken, Tucker said he had high hopes for the project.

"We still see it full speed ahead," Tucker said.

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