The Civil War-era Illinois governor's mansion is due for an upgrade—especially since the Polar Vortex of 2014 led to significant water damage.
While Gov. Pat Quinn chose not to live in the Springfield manse, his successor Bruce Rauner aims to make it his permanent HQ as he begins his first term. The multi-millionaire multiple-home-owner and his wife, Diana, will soon decamp from their Winnetka base to take up full-time residence at the crumbling state-owned property, which recently suffered from a leaky roof and flooded basement. It was built in 1855, making it nearly 160 years old.
The Rauners' rep told Capitol Fax earlier this week that the future First Couple took a tour last Thursday and are (allegedly) happy with the place.
"Bruce and Diana are excited and looking forward to moving to Springfield," said spokesman Mike Schrimpf. "Clearly there's some work that needs to be done on the people's house and Bruce has committed to raising private funds to make the necessary repairs."
Meanwhile, Executive Mansion curator Dave Bourland tells the Sun-Times: "I'm looking forward to working with him, but so far I've heard nothing."
"Transition is always difficult and the mansion still needs a new roof and the elevator is not working, so the new first family will have to climb the tall, winding mansion staircase to get to their private enclave," says Bourland.
After a round of bad press, Quinn finally caved on long-delayed repairs and last summer ordered emergency fixes costing in the ballpark of $40,000. The prevailing theory on why he held off on taking action to rescue the decaying landmark: An apparent skittishness toward seeming hypocritical after loudly complaining about the state's $50 million project to restore the Capitol's west wing.
When Rauner is done with it, the Executive Mansion will look like this.
For now, he'll have to take the stairs.