The repairs are underway on the Executive Mansion's roof. The official residence of the governor, a few blocks east of the Capitol in Springfield, is getting an $8-12 million rehab, the first significant non-emergency work since the early 1970s. The building is about 160 years old. Henson Robinson Company in Springfield was chosen for a nearly $500,000 roof replacement. Dave Blanchette, who used to work for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, says, “It's a wonderful, historic building. It's a treasure for the citizens of Illinois. It's listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and it's certainly worthy of preservation and continued use.”
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During and after the gubernatorial campaign, Gov. Bruce Rauner criticized the stewardship of the mansion and said it was a metaphor for state government under the man Rauner defeated, Pat Quinn. Blanchette, who also served as a Quinn spokesman, said money was appropriated under a capital projects plan but never was spent. Blanchette cites the likely negative public reception to spending money on a governor's mansion, particularly after the criticism for the elaborate work done at the Capitol – complete with a $669,000 set of copper doors. “Sometimes,” Blanchette says, “you've just got to bite the bullet and spend money on things, because, if you don't, you've got to spend money on them in the future.” There is now an Executive Mansion Association, and the money is being raised privately.