State Diverts Thousands For Repairs To Governor's Mansion

- SPRINGFIELD - While many capitol improvement projects are on hold, the state is spending thousands of dollars to patch up the governor's mansion.

The executive mansion in Illinois is one of the oldest in the country and officials say that makes it as much a state landmark as well as a home.

After a long winter, state employees noticed cracking plaster and peeling wallpaper; all signs the executive mansion has a serious problem.

"By and large, we're happy to say we caught it in time that it didn't cause significant damage," said David Blanchette, spokesperson for the governor's office.

The state will spend $40,000 in emergency funds to repair eight leaks in the roof of the third-oldest executive estate. Officials say the mansion hosts an average of 200 events a year and thousands of guests for tours.

"This is not just a residence, but a tourist attraction," Blanchette said, "And it's also a venue for special events."

While the state feels the residence is a treasured tourist attraction, some say it's too much for a house lived in for about 100 days a year.

"I don't think they should be putting that kind of money into it because he's not there that much," said Dan Daniels of Springfield.

While others like Dave Nyberg, visiting from Chicago, say if you don't keep it up, why would any governor stay there.

"The governor has traditionally lived there to my recollection until Blagojevich," Nyberg said, "So why not make it a building that is worthwhile for a governor to stay in?"

Plus he said the stories preserved inside are worth every penny.

"History is a very important part of our life. Without knowing history, we can't see where we're going," Nyberg said.

The funds are being paid through bonds from the Capital Construction Program which are financed through existing revenues so renovations will not have an effect or be affected by any budget deficits. The repairs are expected to take several weeks to finish.

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