Rauners move out of Ill. Executive mansion during renovations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Tuesday was moving day for Governor and Mrs. Rauner down in Springfield.

They will be relocating while the executive mansion is undergoing major renovations.

ABC7 got a one-on-one with the governor and details of the plan.

For the next 12 months, the governor and his wife will be living in a house on the Illinois State Fair grounds, just steps from the goat building, where a payphone is still on the wall.

The building is officialy the state's agriculture director's house.

"I don't think it's been used as a full time residence for ag director in many years," Diana Rauner said.

"Diana and I and dog Stella are going to be living here as our primary residence now," Gov. Bruce Rauner said.

Illinois' executive mansion will undergo a $15 million renovation. Nine months ago, Mrs. Rauner first revealed the plans and showed the condition of the mansion, built in 1855, has been in decline for years - the last major work was done around 1970.

"It's very important to make Springfield a proud place, a beautiful place," Mrs. Rauner said.

"It's a wonderful thing. We can do this, restore the mansion without the taxpayer having to pay anything," Gov. Rauner said.

The entire project is expected to take 18 months. There will be a new visitor's center and areas to showcase Illinois artists.

The governor was quick to answer critics who say he should have bigger priorities for the state.

"This is to grow jobs, not just to make the building look better," he said. "More jobs all over the state."

"My number one focus is getting a balanced budget, keeping it balanced, by growing economy, jobs," he continued.

And on the budget, the governor said there is some good news. That "senate Democrats and Republicans are negotiating on a compromise."

As for the cost of the renovations, $14 million of the $15 million has been raised through donations.
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