A committee interested in building a memorial to Delaware native Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, will hear presentations from design firms next month.
The firms — Brown and Bills Group and OHM Advisors — are expected to give their presentations on May 26. In March, Rutherford B. Hayes Memorial Committee chair Cory Beam asked Delaware County commissioners for $5,000 in community enhancement funds to pay for the design.
“We need funding just to do the design work,” said Delaware assistant city manager, Jackie Walker, who is helping the committee with administration. “Once it gets designed, that’s what the committee will take to different organizations and people to get donations to build the memorial.”
The memorial, which would be placed at the corner of Sandusky and William streets next to Amato’s restaurant, could be a life-sized statue of Hayes made from a material that looks like bronze, but is sustainable and doesn’t cost as much. There may also be a water element.
“We’re estimating $400,000,” Walker said of the project’s total cost. “We’re going to apply for as many grants as we can get our hands on. Unfortunately, we were notified we were not awarded anything from the state capital budget (announced last week). We applied for that.”
The committee, which includes members from the Delaware County Historical Society, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and citizens, would have to do the fundraising. Donations are currently being accepted through the Delaware County Foundation — which can be reached at www.delawarecf.org or 614-764-2332.
“Anybody who wants to make a donation is welcome to, but we think it would be better to raise money once we get the design,” Walker said. “I would like to get it done quickly, but we have to have the money first.”
The city currently has only a plaque to mark Hayes’ historical importance to the city. Over the years, there has been much talk of providing a more befitting monument to Hayes. The RBH Memorial Committee was formed earlier this year.
In addition to the statue, there will be something made to honor Hayes at Hayes High School, possibly a mural.
“We’re going to let the high school decide, because we want the students to have ownership of that,” Walker said.
The existing marker indicating the former Hayes birthplace in front of the BP gas station may also be replaced and moved as part of the plans.
When completed, the memorial will be a good addition for the city, Walker said.
“This is going to be amazing. It’ll be a gathering place. It’ll really make our downtown pop but, more importantly, it’s going to commemorate the president who came from our city.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.