Meet the Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation Board! Back row left to fight: Alison Wrigley Rusack, Geoff Rusack, Charles Canby, Lourdes Thoricht, Randy Herrel, Blanny Avalon Hagenah and Gina Long. Seated in the front left to right: Jani Eisenhut and Catherine Stephens. Photo courtesy of the Santa Catalina Island Company
Avalon, California, April 28, 2016 – Structural engineer, Tim Canby, recently examined Avalon’s iconic Chimes Tower, and declared it to be solidly in place and structurally sound. The newly-formed board of the Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation had feared the worst for this 1925 city treasure. They, like so many who pass by the chimes, could only see decaying wood, cracking plaster and sliding walls, and were concerned that the building would have to be torn down and rebuilt. On a site visit, though, the engineer showed them that the main structure supporting and protecting the Deagan chimes is resting on a solid concrete pad, with no threat of collapse or sliding. The 90 year old Tower has clearly experienced some deterioration, but most of it appears to be cosmetic, rather than structural. Now, having met several times, the Chimes Tower Foundation board has a better grasp on how to go about addressing one of its key goals– restoring and beautifying this unique building. In 2013 the board of the Santa Catalina Island Company began to look at how best to care for the tower. Recognizing that it was not only cherished by many but, also, that individuals, corporations and more wanted to help with its care and restoration, they decided to create a non-profit foundation and deed the chimes to it. While the process took longer than was expected, in 2015 the Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation (CCTF) was formed, had its first meeting and took ownership of the building. Also, in 2015 the Foundation obtained its tax exempt status, and the Board hired local accountant, Christy Lins, to handle financial matters. Since then, the CCTF has received many gifts from local residents as well as visitors from overtown. In addition, two mainland-based law firms and an architect are donating their services, and the Avalon Rotary and Lions Clubs have offered to help with the physical cleanup of the site. At its recent annual meeting, the Foundation named officers and appointed two new board members, Jani Eisenhut and Gina Long. According to Board Chair Alison Wrigley Rusack, “Jani and Gina embody the spirit of the community and bring expertise, a wealth of history and energy to the table! We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we embark on restoring and maintaining the beloved Chimes Tower for future generations to enjoy.” Ms. Rusack also said that she and her fellow board members are thrilled that, “without our even having put together the Foundation’s marketing/development plans, so many have opened their wallets and offered their time to this project,” adding, “I just want to say thanks to all of you who have helped get our organization off the ground!” Going forward, Ms. Rusack stated that the Foundation’s board is working on cleanup plans, timelines, goals, landscaping, security, a web page, cost estimating, insurance, donor recognition and more. She said that she and her fellow board members can hardly wait to get the renovations started, but they want to insure that they do it the right way. For those who would also like to help, tax deductible contributions may be sent to the Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation at P.O. Box 677, Avalon, CA 90704. For questions and comments please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Catalina Chimes Tower is a nonprofit public benefit corporation. Our mission is to restore and maintain the Chimes Tower, an Avalon historic landmark on Catalina Island for the community and future generations to enjoy.