March 19, 2008

City may spend $10,000 on Civil War cannons for Monument Square

Remember Racine's Civil War cannons? They're back as a local issue this spring. Parks and Recreation Director Donnie Snow will ask the City Council to spend $10,000 to buy two new granite bases for the cannons, which will be placed on Monument Square. Snow hopes to have the cannons displayed by Flag Day on June 14. Fundraising remains an option for the bases, but would draw out the process of restoring the cannons, according to Snow. Unless, of course, someone comes forward with the money.

Here's a letter Snow wrote today updating progress on the cannons:
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have been working with a number of individuals to bring about the cannon restoration and ultimate return of the cannons to Monument Square. If all goes as plan the targeted date for the return of the cannons to the square will be June 14th.

I have been working with Mr. Pat Kulas, of Cushing 4th U.S. Artillery Battery A, Ms. Sharon Baldukas and Mr. Kim J. Heltemes, Wis. Dept Memorials Officer, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War to try and make these plans a reality.


Midwest Special Coatings Painting has agreed to do the cannon restoration/coating with materials donated by Hallman Lindsay Paint.

Through Sharon Baldukas there has been some discussion about fundraising for the granite cannon bases but if that is the way the bases are purchased I think it is safe to say that there will not be enough funding to make the purchase by June 14th. So, what I have done is, I have submitted a letter to the common council to inform them of the situation and the cost of the bases should the council want to allocate enough money to make this purchase. This item should come before the Finance and Personnel Committee on Monday, March 24th, 2008.

I have been in contact with Monte Osterman of Osterman Granite and Marble and he has given me a price of approximately $10,000 or $4,700 to $4,900 each for the two cannon bases. If we act expeditiously he thinks that he could make the shipment happen along with the seat wall granite pieces being provided by DRC. That would also save on shipping as well which could cost as much as $1,000 if ordered alone and shipped separately at a later date.

Further, Mr. Osterman is already making arrangements to take one of the cannons from storage to his shop to prepare for carving the cannon bases and determining the balance point in the event the Council allocates the necessary funding or that some donor steps forward.

Needless to say I think the Common Council’s decision will be key to whether or not the cannons are restored to the square by the targeted date of June 14th, Flag Day.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions contact me at your convenience.



  1. The DRC should be made to pay for everything, since the DRC had the City move the cannons in the first place

  2. You've gotta be kidding! What a waste of money! Can we for once spend money on something that will help the community? Is this the best idea that the Parks and Rec dept can offer?

  3. How about some shells to use on the DRC

  4. Snow gets paid $90,000 + a year for this type of work?? No wonder this city will be bankrupt in a few years.

  5. No! No! No!

    I opposed the return of the cannons to the square the first time, preferring to lend them to the upcoming Kenosha Civil War Museum, where they can be viewed and recognized in their proper historical context -- a learning experience for everyone and a pround moment for Racine.

    Spend the $10,000 elswhere to REALLY improve the quality of city life.

  6. concrete katie3/21/2008 10:50 AM

    What happened to the existing bases? Why are there going to be monumental barriers (a/k/a seats)? Could these be barriers between the pedestrians and the highway? Maybe its sound barriers?! Lets make them 40 feet tall!!!

    What are the competitive designs and bids? What about simple concrete? Who looks at the final design? Did Landmarks??? Did Preservation Racine??? Monument Square is part of Historic Sixth Street which is on the National Register.....

  7. Maybe the barriers are for the wagons?

  8. This entire story is so ironic when compared to the state of the Racine School District facilities. There has been more attention to detail - the planning, organization, press releases, hype and hysteria - over a couple of historic cannons versus current school facilities. If there was just a fraction of this passion from the RUSD supporters - RUSD Board, REA, et al – Racine would have state of the art facilities rather than hearing from these individuals in the 11th hour year after year after year for additional funding. We, as taxpayers, never see nor hear of strategic long-term planning – just last minute pleas.