Article: The Republican Sept 2005

Here is an article published in the Holyoke Plus section of The Republican on September 02, 2005.

Monument repairs postponed

By David Reid

HOLYOKE- The planned restoration of the Soldiers Monument in downtown’s Veterans Park has been indefinitely postponed after a recent public bid process that shows the cost to repair the Civil War monument is several times higher than estimated.

Erected in 1876, the bronze and granite monument features Miss Liberty, bronze plaques listing the names of the 50 city soldiers who died in that war and a series of four bas-relief bronze panels depicting scenes of soldiers before, during and after battles.

A private-sector effort to raise the estimated $15,000 needed to restore the city monument, embraced by the city last year, topped $8,000 before the city issued bids earlier this summer.

The bid, submitted June 15 by ConcerArt LLC of Hampden, Conn., reported there were numerous broken and missing pieces of the panel sculptures, and deteriorated elements in both the granite and bronze. The bid was picked by a city selection committee.

The monument was created by noted sculptor Henry Jackson Ellicott and dedicated in a formal ceremony July 4, 1876. Ellicott’s works grace various national battlefield memorials including Gettysburg, PA., as well as the U. S. Capitol Building and the U.S. Library of Congress.

“With all this money we have to raise, it will take another year,” said artist Jacqueline M. Sears of Southampton, a city native who has spearheaded the fund-raising effort here. “I’m never going to be done fund raising. But somehow it’s got to keep rolling.”

Sears has done similar military restoration fund raising in Westfield and Southampton.

On the Miss Liberty statue, Sears has worked with members of the city’s Soldiers Memorial Commission, which oversees military monuments here.

To kick off the renewed fund-raising effort, the group has scheduled a concert for Saturday, Sept. 17, at the War Memorial Building on Appleton Street.

The 7p.m. event will feature the Holyoke High School Madrigal Choir, the Pioneer Valley Chordsmen and the Pioneer Valley Senior Concert Band.

“We’ve taken an important step,” said Parks Director Carolyn L. Porter, who is helping oversee the restoration project. “We have to regroup and realize the amount of work that needs to be done.”