OREGON, Ill. — A well-known statue in Ogle County will likely spend another winter encased in protective material to prevent weathering of the landmark.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Young told the Daily Gazette (http://bit.ly/2cI0V4w ) the Black Hawk statue will likely be covered in mid-November. The Lorado Taft statue in Lowden State Park falls under the natural resources department’s jurisdiction.

The 50-foot statue was unveiled in 1911 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2009. Despite numerous repair efforts, parts of the statue have crumbled and fallen off over the years, particularly due to winter weather.

Sterling residents Frank and Cherron Rausa formed the nonprofit Friends of the Black Hawk Statue nearly eight years ago to develop a plan and raise funds for its repair. More than $750,000 of the estimated $900,000 that is needed was raised through fundraisers, private donations, and a $350,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to the natural resources department. Only the grant and about $70,000 remains, Frank Rausa said.

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. of Chicago still is the architectural and engineering firm handling repairs to the weather-damaged statue, Young said.

“They are finishing up the plans and specifications for the work now, and will submit those to IDNR for review,” Young wrote in an email. “Once the documents are finalized, the conservators will enter into a contract with IDNR through the recommendation of the Illinois Conservation Foundation.”

The statue spent a year and a half wrapped in a green protective mesh around scaffolding that was erected in December 2014. The material came down in June.

Information from: The Daily Gazette, http://www.saukvalley.com

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