COUNCIL BLUFFS — Spirits must really be soaring now for the organizers of the Council Bluffs eagle project.
Mayor Tom Hanafan and Council Bluffs Parks Director Larry Foster last week signed off on the city's portion for the construction of the 42-inch-tall bronze eagle to be installed in the center of a plaza at the RailsWest Railroad Museum, 16th Avenue and Main Street.
“It was a big moment,” said Roger Frieze, co-chairman of the committee overseeing the project. “We had to collect half of the funds for the project before the city signed off. We've collected $75,000.”
The city's portion will involve paying the local architect firm of HGM Associates to complete the design work for the plaza, Frieze said.
The original estimate for the whole project, excluding the city's portion, was $150,000, he said. A project contractor, however, was able to lower that estimate to about $135,000.
Some of the necessities — like the eagle itself, plaza flag poles and bricks that will be sold to the public for engraving — had already been paid for, Frieze said. That leaves about $30,000 remaining to be raised, he said.
“Freedom With Honor” is the city's theme for the Eagles of Pottawattamie County, a countywide patriotic project honoring those who served in the military. Each community in the county came up with its own theme for their monument that features a 42-inch-tall bronze eagle created by Russ and Penny Christensen of Neola.
It's hoped the project can be officially unveiled on Veterans Day weekend, Frieze said.
Meanwhile, the public is invited to meet Russ Christensen today at 12:30 p.m. in Ballroom B of the Senior Center, 714 S. Main St. He'll discuss how the Council Bluffs eagle was created from clay. Frieze and fellow co-chairman Paul Rolfe will give a project update and talk about how the public can get involved, including the purchase of bricks to help with the costs.