Modesto arch restoration groups waiting on donors' checks

10/10/2012 1:33 PM

10/10/2012 9:47 PM

Local groups restoring the Modesto arch are counting on pledged donations to come in, so they can finish the work by the Oct. 26 centennial celebration.

Tuesday, City Council members didn’t go along with a proposal to use $40,000 in general fund money to pay the bills until checks are sent by donors.

The Modesto Chamber of Commerce and other groups have raised $67,970 and $40,000 in pledges. Another $20,000 is needed to establish a long-term maintenance fund for light-bulb replacements and upkeep on the 100-year-old arch.

According to city staff, the arch project was given permission to use the remaining $15,800 in the Ted and Dr. Roberta Mann Foundation grant. Some donors that made pledges for the arch have not sent their contributions.

Workers still need to finish repainting the arch and reconstruct sidewalks near the landmark on I Street. Also, the wiring needs to be completed and the light panels tested before the panels are put back on the arch, one or two weeks from Saturday.

“Not many people realize the steps needed to make all this happen,” said Brian Gini, co-owner of Collins Electrical, one of the businesses involved with the effort. “We got involved because it was a great community project. It comes down to preserving one of the last downtown icons.”

A centennial celebration set for Oct. 26 will include a classic car parade and ceremony for lighting the arch, which bears the motto “Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, some council members didn’t want to commit public funds for completing the project, which originally was proposed as a volunteer effort.

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