Last month the Westown Association launched a campaign to raise money to complete the restoration of the Court of Honor, a group of statues in the median on Wisconsin Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.
But the story now is that while some of the statues in the grouping have been restored, others have not. And now, Westown has set a goal of raising at least $100,000 to complete the work.
"While the Civil War monument 'Victorious Charge' was beautifully restored in 2003," wrote Westown executive director Stacie Callies in a plea last month, "the oldest monument, George Washington, erected in 1885, has likely never been cleaned or conserved. Today it shows the ravages of time, including significant oxidation, corrosion and holes in its bronze shell.
"The newest monument, the Spanish American War Hero, is now plagued by more than 80 years of grime, oxidation and corrosion which have accumulated since it was dedicated in 1932.
"Even the more recently restored Civil War monument now needs a good cleaning and waxing. All three need periodic care over time to prevent further deterioration."
At the moment, more than $36,575 had been collected from a group of donors that includes Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee Downtown BID 21, Marquette University, Zilber Property Group, The Wisconsin Club and many of its members.
The City of Milwaukee Arts Board has also awarded a $10,000 matching grant, but because the money has not yet been received, it is not yet reflected in the total.
"The project has had a great deal of support thus far from nearby stakeholders," Callies told me today. "We hope to continue this fundraising momentum in 2015 in order to be able to contract with the conservator in early 2016 and have the work completed by year-end 2016."
You can make a tax deductible contribution at westown.org/courtofhonor.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.