Renovated Illinois governor's mansion opening soon

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The newly-renovated Illinois governor's mansion is slated to open to the public for tours on July 14. (WLS)

The newly-renovated Illinois governor's mansion is slated to open to the public for tours on July 14.

ABC7's Stacey Baca was among those given a hard-hat tour of the grand mansion by architecture and construction companies on Wednesday.

The Illinois mansion is the official residence of the state's governor and was considered of the grand mansions of Illinois. However, years of disrepair began to show, including splintered wood, peeling paint and structural damage.

Three years ago, ABC 7's Paul Meincke toured the old home when it was in total disrepair.

In 2015, construction started after Governor Bruce Rauner and his wife, First Lady Diana Rauner, promised the public to fully renovated the mansion without using taxpayers' money. The Illinois Governor's Mansion Association set a goal to raise $15 million in private funds to complete the project.

An association spokeswoman said Wednesday that "nearly $15 million" has been raised, but she declined to specify the exact amount. Spokeswoman Rachel Hatch said the mansion association plans to release that information at a later date.

Although there are structural improvements to the residence, the group has also taken this opportunity to revamp educational programs to focus on the state's rich history and artwork.

Structural changes include a new facade and landscaping.

According to the association, the renovated mansion will feature:

-Full ADA accessibility for the first time in history
-Professionally trained docents on-site for guided tours
-Expanded programming
-An all-new visitor center and short orientation video
-Rooms dedicated specifically to historic events, including the Columbian Exposition and past Illinois Governors and families

Art exhibits will also be part of the newly-renovated mansion. Organizers said the inaugural exhibit, Art in Illinois, brings together more than 80 works of art from artists based in the state.

The opening celebration will be held July 14, according to the association. Once open, the mansion is scheduled to be open seven days a week for visitors.
Related Topics:
politicsgovernorBruce RaunerconstructionSpringfield
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