Huffpost Chicago

Illinois Capitol Building Renovations Draw Fire After Word Gets Out State Spent $669,608 On Six Doors

Posted: Updated:
Illinois State House Capitol on a cloudy winter day - Springfield (state capitol series). The statue of Abraham Lincoln was dedicated on October 5, 1918, the centennial of the first meeting of the Illinois General Assembly. (Getty)
Illinois State House Capitol on a cloudy winter day - Springfield (state capitol series). The statue of Abraham Lincoln was dedicated on October 5, 1918, the centennial of the first meeting of the Illinois General Assembly. (Getty)

As federal spending watchdogs keep an eye out for $100 hammers, Illinois is getting away with $669,608 doors.

That's right: The broke-as-a-joke Land of Lincoln, with its abysmally funded pension system and toilet-level credit rating, is dropping major coin to renovate the Capitol building in Springfield.

The $50 million renovation project of the building, a National Historic Landmark, is nearing completion; plenty of updates to insulation, the HVAC system and others were made to bring the aging building up to snuff safety and health-wise.

Last week, however, someone from Capitol Architect J. Richard Alsop III's office let it slip to the Star-Journal Register that part of the renovation costs included three ornate wood and copper doors, totalling a whopping $669,608 (technically six individual doors -- two for each of three doorways on the west end of the Capitol).

Illinois taxpayers: You like?

Laurence Msall, president of the financial watchdog group Civic Federation, told the Associated Press the doors are an example (just one?) of the state's poor judgment.

"In order to accomplish such an elegant rehabilitation of the Capitol building, the state Legislature skipped the requirement of justifying why that investment was a higher priority than the needed improvements to our water, roads, public transit and education systems that are not being fully funded," Msall said.

In fairness, funding for the doors and the rest of the project comes from bonds issued by the state to pay for public works projects and capital expenditures, including historic landmarks like the Capitol building. In other words, those funds couldn't be used to pay for pensions and other institutions.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan defended the beautifying choices on Chicago Tonight (embedded above) citing the building's historic significance.

As the state's financial situation worsens -- or as the Sun-Times Marcus Gilmer wrote, "this flaming vehicle of financial disaster speeds towards the cliff" -- we can't help but think this of our state's bottom line:

Also on HuffPost:

Close
15 Super Weird Taxes
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.: Critics aghast at Ill. Capitol's new $670K doors ...

Critics say Illinois Capitol's doors too pricey : News

Springfield, IL Capitol building renovation includes pricey doors

Capitol Complex Visitors Center - Easy Access Springfield

Capitol Renovation Includes $670K for Doorways | NBC Chicago

Critics say Illinois Capitol's doors too pricey - Chicago News and ...

Critics say Illinois Capitol's doors too pricey - Quad-City Times

Did IL Really Spend $223,000 For A Set Of Doors? - Taxpayers for ...

New doors for Illinois Capitol come with hefty price tag

Critics: $670K doors at Illinois Capitol are too 'elegant' for a state with ...

Preserving history or grossly overpriced?

Illinois to unveil Capitol renovation

$50 million renovation at Illinois Capitol nearly complete

Did the new Statehouse doorways really cost that much?