Archive for Thursday, January 18, 2007

Eudora statue project progressing on two fronts

January 18, 2007

Progress on one of the centerpieces of Eudora's 150th anniversary celebration is coming in ahead of schedule.

That's because a commemorative brick drive and a seven-month series of fund-raisers helped supporters net more than half of the money needed to pay for a bronze statue of the town's namesake. Much more.

"I think we're at about 80 percent," Eudora Lions Club member Tom Tucker said.

So far, the Lions Club has sold 230 bricks, 20 short of its goal of 250, Tucker said.

"I think it's very easily within reach," Tucker said.

On Feb. 1, the price of the bricks will increase from $50 to $55, he said.

"We're kind of trying to get people aware," Tucker said. "We're trying to hold costs down as much as we can, but we will need to bring it up to $55 by that date."

Regardless of the price increase, Tucker's fellow Lions Club members are considering of asking the public to buy bricks as an homage to Eudora's history.

Tucker said he envisioned commemorative bricks carved with the names of old businesses no longer in town

"I think that would be wonderful," Tucker said.

The other major financial boost was from a series of fund-raisers from May to December of last year. The events included a bike run, country music concert and a holiday home tour.

In all, the events raised $15,479.

Funds from the city will supplement money generated by the community.

The financial progress comes in addition to progress on the statue itself.

Lawrence artist Jim Brothers is currently adding final details in clay to an eight-foot-tall foam form of the piece before it's shipped to a foundry to be dipped in bronze.

The statue depicts the town's founder Paschal Fish embracing his daughter, Eudora, when she was about 9.

The final project is set to be unveiled during the city's EudoraFest celebration in October.

Between now and then, the fund-raising will shift slightly, Tucker said.

"We're trying to focus our fund-raising activities on people who want to be honor donors," Tucker said.

Honor donors are patrons who donate $250 or more to the project, Tucker said.

Those who become honor donors will have their name on a brass plaque at the base of the statue, Tucker said.

"I think we're really in such good shape on fund-raising that a few cash

contributions will get us where we need to be," Tucker said.

In addition to searching for cash donations and brick sales, supporters are writing a grant application for money from the county.

In the coming months, the Lions Club will also shift emphasis from fund-raising to final design details of the statue.

The city is working with BG Consultants to plan the eventual site for the statue, which will be in CPA Park across from the police station.

"There's going to be a lot of effort that's going to be put into that," Tucker said.

With the EudoraFest deadline for the statue more than half passed, Tucker said he is optimistic.

"I feel good where we've gotten in the past nine months."

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