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Conover Square project is nearing completion

By Vinde Wells
vwells@oglecounty news.com


Hands On Oregon is ready to finish its Love Our Flag project at Conover Square.

HOO President Rick Ryland said Monday that the siding supplies are ordered, and installation should begin by the end of September.

“After months attempting to work out the logistics for installing a solar wall, the committee agreed that the additional costs and regulations were not worth the supposed savings it was to generate,” Ryland said. “We could not order supplies until we knew if we needed absorbent steel or reflective steel. The color of that south wall will not need to be dark, since the solar wall is out. The color will be sandstone, very similar to the color of the stucco that was removed.”

For the past year and a half, HOO members have been working with Conover Square owner Lou VanderWyst to repair the south wall of the century-plus-old former piano factory turned mall.

Moisture and age had caused the wall of the building to deteriorate and bow out.

VanderWyst had already shored up the inside of the wall with jacks and was doing what he could to deal with the problem.

However, money was tight, and he lacked the amount needed to make the extensive repairs.

HOO set to work in late December of 2015, removing the stucco from the wall’s outside and shoring up the studding, then insulating the wall and sheeting it.

The process has been slow at times, but obstacles have been overcome and donations have rolled in.

The plan includes a large mural of the American flag on the finished wall, along with the names of all the donors who have supported the project.

The flag will still be in the upper right corner and take up one quarter of the size of the wall.

“It will look spectacular from the bridge,” Ryland said. “We need yet to fabricate the stars.”

The cost of the material is $29,705.

“Tip Top Roofing and Construction Company worked very closely with the supplier Pac-Clad on the order. They are ready to work as soon as the supplies arrive,” he said.

“ComEd said that we could not work in the summer because the electric lines are overloaded due mainly to air conditioning usage,” Ryland said. “We do not anticipate any problems with them rerouting electricity or moving the lines in the fall. The flag should fly by Thanksgiving.”

He expressed appreciation for the help HOO has received on the project.

“Without the help of our volunteers and the contributions of all, we wouldn’t be this close to finishing. Thank you. A thousand times: thank you. Oregon is shining again,” he said.


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