The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Thursday) voted to approve a $5,000 contribution to the City of Lewis towards its efforts to have a Freedom Rock painted. The Board voted four-to-one in favor of the contribution, with Board Chair Mark Wedemeyer voting against it. Wedemeyer proposed having the County contribute $2,500, and he wanted to see more effort made by the City of Lewis to raise funds for the project before additional funding is granted. The County’s contribution will come from the Local Option Sales Tax proceeds.
Individuals representing the City of Lewis’ Economic Development group asked for the contribution, after explaining the costs involved and what’s been accomplished so far. Ray “Bubba” Sorensen and his family from Greenfield, are traveling the State of Iowa to put paintings uniquely individual to each location, on rocks acquired by various cities. Sorensen is of course, famous for his Freedom Rock painting in northern Adair County, as well as for the many murals he has painted on buildings throughout the State.
Matt Klein said they have received a 15,000-pound boulder, which was donated for the project, and put in-place on the northeast corner of the East Park, in Lewis. Klein said the project, which will represent the entire County, will cost an estimated $8,000 altogether. He said the Board of Tourism is excited by the project, which is expected to bring visitors not only to Lewis, but other communities in Cass County as well.
Klein said the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce has already had inquires about where the rock is located, even though it hasn’t been painted yet. The City of Lewis has made a down payment to Sorensen in the amount of $1,000. A concrete pad for the rock will be poured to support the 8-foot tall, 4 ½-foot wide boulder. Klein said while the City is on a waiting list to have the rock painted, having the County’s support behind the project could bump the project up on the list, in front of other Counties who want the work done, but have yet to find a boulder.
Klein said a final design for the painting has not yet been selected by Sorensen, but he has the final say in what will best represent the County. He said Sorensen will hold a town hall meeting to gather input from the communities before he comes up with the design.
No timetable has been established for when the rock will be painted, as fund raising efforts are in the planning stages, and there are several communities on the list who are ready to have their rocks painted. Shelby, Adair, Adams and Ringgold Counties already have their rocks painted. Sorensen will be touring the State over the next few Summers, working on the commissioned projects. For more information about the locations and counties that have applied for a Freedom Rock painting, go to http://www.thefreedomrock.com/tour/.