Shonkwiler memorial could be scaled back

A memorial to honor one of Piatt County’s most distinguished judges is still likely, but may not include a gazebo on the courthouse lawn as originally planned. Piatt County Sheriff Judge David Hunt told the Piatt County board building and grounds committee on Wednesday that donated funds are not enough to fund the $20,000 structure that would honor the late John P. Shonkwiler.

“Basically the project hinges completely on funding, and we have not received very much for the actual gazebo project,” said Hunt. “I’m not so sure we can continue to do the gazebo at this point, but we could continue to do one of the other projects, and that would be a stone on the northeast corner (of the courthouse) with a plaque inside.”

Since the spring of 2016, a volunteer committee has been researching a memorial for Shonkwiler, who served as a judge in Piatt County from 1972 until his death in 2012 and was chief judge for the central Illinois’ six-county Sixth Judicial Court for 18 years.

Early estimates for a stone to honor him were in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. An indoor plaque for the courthouse is also being considered.

A bid of $21,307 for the gazebo had been obtained and the project could have started in the spring if funding had allowed, added Hunt. He said the committee will continue to meet this summer, but at this point will likely shift its focus from a gazebo to a memorial stone and/or plaque.



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