ILLINOIS -- It was moving day for Governor Bruce Rauner Tuesday afternoon. While the governor's mansion is under repairs, Rauner moved to the agriculture director's house, on the state fairgrounds.
One major difference? He's moving from a three-story mansion to a single-story home with a walk-out basement.
It's a big difference. However, Governor Rauner says he's looking forward to staying in the area.
"Hey guys, it's a beautiful day for a move!"
Pulling up in his teal Volkswagen van, Governor Rauner is moving out of the mansion and into new digs. The AG director's home, located on the fairgrounds, is the new home for Governor Rauner and First Lady Diana.
Despite a more than 40,000 square foot difference, Rauner says it's in much better condition than the mansion.
"It was great when we finally got a new roof put on and the mansion because, the first few months we're living there, when it rained hard, literally, plaster would fall next to our bedroom, off the ceiling. It was amazing."
The couple, and their dog Stella, will be living here for about a year until renovations are complete at the mansion. The privately-funded campaign to restore the 161-year old building is at about $14 million.
"So, we don't have to have taxpayers pay anything to fix up the mansion. It's all privately funded. Our goal is to raise $15 million and we'll cap it at that."
The new living space is about 3,800 square feet, which includes an upstairs living room, dining room, kitchen and two bedrooms.
Rauner says he's looking forward to staying in Springfield and enjoying his new, spacious yard.
"I'm a big fisherman. We got the AG director's pond over there and, I understand, I'll be able to fish there a little bit. I'm a big advocate for the State Fair and, being here, I'll be able to be here 24/7 for the fair."
Rauner says the goal is to finish repairs in time for the Illinois Bicentennial Anniversary in 2018.
"We'll be able to joke about it, you know. This is not the real governor's residents, but we can't wait for you to come see the real one. When we fix it up, it's going to be pretty spectacular."
The restorations are expected to take about a year-and-a-half to complete. While that's going on, public tours of the mansion have been suspended.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the AG director's house was built in 1945, after World War II. The home is often used for special events and is typically occupied during the fair by current director, Raymond Poe.
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