Springfield Campanile Restoration
SPRINGFIELD — The city launched a $20 million fundraising effort on Friday for restoration of the historic Campanile tower at Court Square, saying the cost is greater than past estimates due to significant deterioration and corrosion over time.
“Together, we can restore the clock tower to its original majesty when it opened 100 years ago,” Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said in prepared comments. “Springfield is on the verge of a renaissance and the Campanile reflects the aspirations and confidence that are now starting to permeate our city.”
The 275-foot tall, century-old Campanile is the centerpiece of the historic Municipal Group buildings that also includes Symphony Hall to the left, and City Hall to the right, when looking from Court Square.
The tower needs extensive structural repairs due to age and exposure, officials said. Marred by cracks, the broken limestone and problem areas will be removed and replaced to match the existing exterior.
In addition, 12 large bronze bells must be restored, the tower belfry must be waterproofed and repaired, and repairs to the four-sided clock and the once water-powered elevator are needed.
The tower has been boarded off to the public, and has long strips of black webbing along its upper corners to reduce limestone from crumbling and falling.
Four co-chairmen will oversee the fundraising effort of the campanile project: U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, a former Springfield mayor (1983-89); William Lowell Putnam, son of former Mayor Roger Lowell Putnam (1938-43); Jonathan Fantini Porter, great grandson of former Mayor John A. Dennison (1913-15), who was mayor during the dedication of the campanile; and Sarno as the current mayor.
The organizers of the fundraising drive will pursue local, state and federal funding sources, as well as a major private fundraising effort, officials said.
The fundraising task is expected to take three years, and the restoration should take approximately two years, officials said.
Contributions can be made to the campanile restoration project payable to: “Springfield Council for Cultural and Community Affairs, (SCCCA), and sent to the Springfield Campanile Restoration Project, 200 Trafton Road, Springfield MA 01108. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Michael Teller, principal for CBI Consulting Inc., of Boston, an architectural and structural engineering firm that studied the Campanile, said the tower has deteriorated over time due to continuous water infiltration, cracks and crumbling to the limestone exterior, and rusting of the interior steel. The project will include extensive scaffolding; testing; cleaning, repairing and some replacement of steel; waterproofing, limestone restoration where needed and sealing.
Porter, of Washington, D.C., participated in Friday’s announcement, and had also visited Springfield last fall with his mother to help celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the Municipal Group. He is chief of staff for management, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“The Campanile and this Municipal Group has stood for so much for the city and really a symbol for the city’s past and very much a guide to its future,” Porter said.
The campanile, very much like the city itself, is at a crossroads, Porter said.
Putnam, also attending the announcement, said he remembers that the Campanile was the first tower he ever climbed as a boy in 1938. He climbed the steps because the elevator was not working, he said.
Spirit of Springfield is assisting with the fundraising plans.
Patrick J. Sullivan, the city’s director of parks, buildings and recreation management, said he will work with the mayor to secure funds to start the schematic design, and work with the committee chairman to pursue state, federal and private foundation grants. Contributions will be pursued from residents and businesses.
PeoplesBank, that has three branches in Springfield, will assist with a fundraising project.
City Councilor Kateri Walsh was named by council President Michael Fenton to serve as the council’s liaison.
Read the full article: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/03/springfield_campanile_restorat.html