Ball rolling on busted Wright planters
The monument at the west end of Sylvan Road shows cracks around the center of the ball and at its base, but unlike its sister at the east end of Sylvan Road, it remains intact. |Irv Leavitt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 14, 2012 9:13AM
No promises, but there’s a Village of Glencoe process in place that could lead to repairs on the most-damaged of the village’s three deteriorating Frank Lloyd Wright entrance markers.
Those repairs would not be done, however, any earlier than next spring.
“I’ll get the blue tarp out,” said architect John Eifler, who wanted the work done sooner, to prevent further damage.
Village Community Development Analyst Nathan Parch told members of the Historic Preservation Commission Sept. 11 that he had been authorized to prepare a request for proposals from restoration companies to fix the Franklin/Sylvan monument.
That bid request is to go out Sept. 24, with bids coming back Oct. 25. The budget review for the project would be Nov. 15. If village trustees allocate enough money, a contract would be approved in March or April.
Eifler, the commission’s front man for the issue, said he thinks it’s risky to let the monument sit through the winter, but John Houde, deputy public works director, was quoted Sept. 6 in the Glencoe News expressing the opinion that the damage will cause the newly-exposed portions to dry out, making them strong enough to last through the winter.
Houde said he learned that through Glenview-based Rayner Concrete Construction, the contractor gave an estimate between $9,500 and $11,500 for the repairs.
That estimate was counterpoint to the bid sought by Eifler last November, which was $15,350, made by Marion Restoration, a company that specializes in historic preservation.
Eifler, himself a restoration specialist, is in charge of restoring the buildings and monuments of Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery. He has also restored several Wright homes, including his own.
He was unable to convince the village’s staff to push through a budget request last year, nor this summer, after the ball-shaped planter on the front of the monument fell apart in July.
His fellow preservation commissioners recruited him to help Parch with the bid request. Eifler said that document will ask for a double-drain in the planter, shaped something like the overflow drain in a bathtub. The planter would also likely be lined with a lead-copper alloy. The rest of the monument would be refinished and coated.
Houde’s guidelines with Rayner call for no planter linings, a flower pot-type drain and refinishing of the planter portion along the bottom of the monument.
The RFP is to pass muster with the commission and the Ravine Bluffs Association, the homeowner’s group in the area where seven Wright homes, the three monuments and Wright’s Sylvan Road Bridge stand.
Parch expects his grant application to Landmarks Illinois to bring in $1,000 at the most, but the village is still looking to get donations to help defray the expense.
A total of $500 has been donated by some area architects, and Eifler expects some participation by the Ravine Bluffs Association.
The process outlined by Parch finds a plan for the two less-damaged monuments formulated some time next year, with the participation of the homeowners’ association.