Friday, July 8, 2011

Vote for GAR!!!

The Aurora Public Art Commission (APAC) got some refreshing news this summer after the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall (GAR) was deemed eligible to receive a $50,000 grant from Pepsi.

The beverage giant is giving away millions of dollars to fund projects that revitalize communities, education and the arts. Residents can vote up to five times daily to support the GAR rehabilitation project at, or they can vote twice a day by texting “Pepsi” at 73774 and then text “107607” and wait for the confirmation.

The top 10 organizations in the $50,000 category will receive a Pepsi Refresh grant.

Any grant money received would help complete tuck pointing the exterior of the GAR building, 23 E. Downer Place. Exterior restoration was completed between 2007-08 to stabilize the foundation, walls and roof, but tuck pointing was omitted from the project due to the poor economy. An addition also was built to provide modern utilities and access.

The GAR is currently undergoing interior restoration work being paid by a $250,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and a $95,000 grant from the City of Aurora.

The Grand Army of the Republic, a national Civil War veterans’ organization, existed in Aurora from the 1860s to the 1920s. The GAR Memorial Hall was built in 1878 as a monument to those soldiers who had fought in the Civil War. The building also served as a veterans’ meeting hall and as Aurora’s first free public library.

APAC is seeking to raise more money through public and private partnerships to finish the remaining GAR Memorial Hall renovations. Once work is complete, the building will be opened as a veterans’ center and museum to learn about Aurora’s role in America’s wars – spanning from the Civil War through World War II – and genealogical research.

People looking to make a donation to APAC’s GAR restoration effort can:

Go online to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley’s website at;
Send a check or money order to the Aurora Public Art Commission Fund, Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, 111 W. Downer Place, Aurora, IL 60506; or
Call Aurora’s Customer Service Center at 630-256-INFO or call the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley at 630-896-7800.

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