ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) – After years of neglect, the city of Rock Island almost sold the Hauberg Civic Center to a catering company this spring. Instead, a group of residents pleaded for the city to keep the building and allow them to restore it.
Saturday night, Friends of Hauberg Civic Center, the organization formed this year, held their first event to raise money to go towards restoration projects and maintenance.
“There is no other house like this in Rock Island, that’s for sure,” Deb Kuntzi, the president of Friends of Hauberg Civic Center, said.
Dozens of people in the Quad Cities were reminded of that Saturday night as they got to spend some time inside during a ‘Great Gatsby Gala’ themed fundraiser for the Hauberg Civic Center.
“Costumes were encouraged but not required, but I think people just get excited about dressing up so it was fun, it’s been fun,” Kuntzi said.
Emilene Leone had her wedding at the Hauberg Civic Center 15 years ago and says being back inside brought back many great memories.
“The last time I spent a Saturday night here, I was getting married in that room, so we love the Hauberg Civic Center, it means a lot to us,” Leone said.
Many others dressed up in their ‘Great Gatsby’ finest got to see the progress made on the property, including the forest in the back yard.
“There’s a lot of brush right now, but compared to when we started in April, May, right around there, you can actually see through the forest and that’s the way it was supposed to be,” Kuntzi said.
Kuntzi says there’s still a lot of work to do. Saturday’s fundraiser was put together raise money to fix up the 122 windows in the building.
“We’re doing repair, restoration, and replacement of some of them,” Kuntzi said.
Kuntzi says with help from the community, they’re bringing the Hauberg back to life.
“We just want more people to come here and enjoy it like it was meant to be,” Kuntzi said.
“They’re really a dedicated team who want to preserve and keep this home for people to use in the public, future weddings, mine certainly wasn’t the first and it is not the last so hopefully there’s many more to come,” Leone said.
Organizers hope work will begin on the windows later this fall.
There will be tours of the Hauberg Civic Center and a viewing of a movie about Jens Jensen, the landscape architect on Saturday, Oct. 8. The event is free to the public.
You can find more information on the Friends of Hauberg Civic Center’s Facebook page.