Breaking News Bar

Rauner Foundation donation puts Fort Kaskaskia shelter fundraiser over the top

By Gwendy Garner
Contributing writer
Posted on 6/6/2018, 1:00 AM

A donation from the Rauner Family Foundation has helped the Community Foundation of Randolph County and the Randolph County Historical Society meet the fundraising goals needed to replace the shelter house at Ft. Kaskaskia State Park.

Diana Rauner, wife of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and head of the foundation, provided a $50,000 donation for the rebuilding of the shelter house, according to Randolph County Commissioner Dr. Marc Kiehna.

Through the significant donation and the generosity of citizens, hospitals, city governments, fire departments and the

Chester Women's Club, more than $85,000 has now been raised to rebuild the structure, which burned to the ground in October 2012.

Since funding is secured to build the structure, the process of seeking bids will now begin. It is hoped that construction can begin in July.

The planning group for the shelter project consists of Architect Jane Rhetta of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Chester Wingerter, Ft. Kaskaskia Site Superintendent; Emily Lyons of the Randolph County Historical Society; Christopher Martin, representing the Community Foundation; and Dr. Marc Kiehna, Randolph County Commissioner.

The original fundraising goal was $75,000. Any group or individual still wishing to; donate to the project may do so until June 30 by mailing a check to the Randolph County Historical Society or the Community Foundation of Randolph County, Randolph County Courthouse, 1 Taylor Street, Room 106, Chester, IL 62233.

"At this point, additional funds raised will be used to provide electrical work, picnic tables, benches and masonry repairs around the shelter," Kiehna said.