Donations help Libertyville’s Cook House get facelift
Three painters from DiVinci Painters strip and prime the intricate moldings on the exterior of the Cook Mansion. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 13, 2012 6:55AM
LIBERTYVILLE -- The historic Ansel B. Cook House in downtown Libertyville is getting a much-needed facelift, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers.
Dozens attended a ceremony outside the Cook House for the beginning of the exterior restoration work on July 3. The work, which is expected to take several weeks to complete, involves stripping paint from the building, fixing cracks in the woodwork and masonry and repainting the building exterior.
Libertyville residents Mike Foley and Roch Tranel led private fund-raising efforts. A non-profit group called the Paint the Town Foundation was created, which so far has raised about $18,000 of the estimated $25,000 goal for the restoration.
Foley, owner of DiVinci Painters in Highland Park, said he first learned about the need for the exterior restoration and painting when he was contacted by the village about 15 months ago to provide an estimate of what it would cost to paint the Cook House. At the time, however, the village did not have the money to do the repairs and was planning to include the project in its budget in future years.
“I said ‘You can’t wait. You need to get on this’,” said Foley, noting that water was beginning to seep through cracks in the stucco and woodwork and seeping into the basement, where the village maintains many of its historical archives.
“The village didn’t have the money to do it and that’s why I decided to approach Roch about making it a community effort,” he said.
Tranel, owner of Tranel Financial Group, and a friend of Foley’s, agreed it was a worthwhile project to pursue.
“We just took this on as a way to give back to this great community that’s given so much to us and our family,” he said.
Tranel said they started the Paint the Town Foundation last fall and have received tremendous community support. Several businesses have donated to the project, including Rust-Oleum which donated $2,500. The Libertyville Sunrise Rotary donated $2,000 and the Cook Memorial Library District donated $2,500. Benjamin Moore Paint and Sherwin Williams also donated paint to the project.
Students from Copeland Manor and Rockland schools also designed special stationary with artwork of the Cook House which is being sold in the community to raise money for the cause.
Foley said DiVinci Painters is also donating labor to the project. He estimates the work will involve about 1,000 man hours of labor. He expects the work will be completed by later summer.
Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler said, “I think it’s a fantastic project. Mike and Roch stepped up to lead the project and people from throughout the village participated and donated to it. We’re still a little short but they’re talking about selling bricks to raise the remaining money.”
Persons who would like to donate to the cause can do so by visiting www.paintthetownfoundation.com.