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Ilion Alumni Donate to 'Save Our Stairs'

IHS Alumni donate to 'Save Our Stairs'
From left are Bill Richards [IHS 1973], who will be making repairs to the outdoor stairway; Linda Lyle, financial service representative from Berkshire Bank in Ilion, Jean (Keddell) Maneen [IHS 1965] and Barbara DeGouff, fundraising committee chairman for the Save Our Stairs Committee. Photo courtesy of TIMES TELEGRAM/DONNA THOMPSON

Republished courtesy of Times Telegram - Updated Jan 20, 2017 at 3:28 PM

By Donna Thompson

ILION - The Save Our Stairs fund is growing, with the total climbing to $1,592 as of Wednesday, according to committee fundraising Chairman Barbara DeGouff.

The funds so far have come from a fund-raising event at Young's General Store and Ace Hardware in Ilion and individuals who have donated for a variety of reasons.

Jean Maneen made a donation in memory of her mother, Ruth Keddell.

"She went up and down those stairs for 25 years," said Maneen.

Keddell lived on Benedict Avenue and used the stairs almost daily. She was also a Girl Scout leader when meetings were conducted in the building adjacent to the stairs, which is currently used as a law office.

Several fundraisers are scheduled for the coming weeks.

In addition to a Cocktails-N-Canvas fundraiser Vicki Ferrusi is hosting Jan. 21 in Ilion, there will be a dance from 7 to 11 p.m. on Feb. 10 at the Ilion Moose Lodge on Barringer Road with John Seymour [IHS 1966 Alumnus] and friends providing music.

Rick DeJohn [IHS 1969 Alumnus] and the Posers will perform from 4 to 8 p.m. on March 18 at the Ilion Knights of Columbus. There will also be a Chinese auction at this event.

An account has been set up at the Berkshire Bank in Ilion for the repair of the stairs. Those who would like to donate can make checks made payable to S.O.S. and send them to S.O.S. c/o Berkshire Bank, 1 Central Plaza, Ilion, NY 13357.

The Ilion village board voted in December 2015 to close the stairs for safety reasons. Village crews installed barricades and fencing to discourage use of the stairs.

Village residents called for the stairs to be repaired or replaced, but the initial quote village officials received was between $170,000 and $200,000 for the work. The price tag had village board members looking for solutions when Richards approached them and offered to take on the project.

Richards and Charles Walz, of Walz Engineering, volunteered their time to repair the stairs, and others in the community have joined in the effort. Volunteers joined Richards for several weekend work sessions to clear the stairs of brush and debris and formed a committee to raise funds for the project.

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