If three Albany residents get their way, the Waverly Duck could be back bobbing in the water at Waverly Lake by May.
But first they'll need to raise $5,000. So far, they have $100.
The money would go toward the restoration of the nearly 600-pound spray-foam and fiberglass duck, which these days sits nearly derelict in a back lot of Corvallis Tree & Lawn Care, owned by Mike Pickens.
The duck greeted drivers rolling into Albany from the north beginning in the mid-1980s, and was purchased in 1997 by antique shop owner Mike Briggs. In 2007, the city Parks Department decided to pull it from the water in the wake of concerns over its condition and upkeep.
The idea to resurrect the duck came in January of this year, when the owner's widow, Pam Briggs, asked Mayor Sharon Konopa if the city would like to take ownership of the icon. But when the City Council washed its hands of the idea, the fate of the duck fell to Konopa, Councilor Ray Kopczynski and Ed Hodney, the city's acting economic development and urban renewal director.
The three have established a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/Waverly-Duck to finance the duck's return. In fact, that initial $100 donation came from Kopczynski himself to get the ball rolling.
But the three already have community support: Main Auto Body has confirmed it will donate nearly 40 hours of labor, as well as materials, to restore the duck and then give it a primer coat. After that, the trio will seek volunteers to paint it so that it looks like an actual wood duck.
"We'd like it to look realistic and not too obnoxious," Kopczynski said.
But with the donated time and labor from Main Auto Body, how would the $5,000 be used? That number, said Hodney, reflects the annual maintenance and other incidentals that may come up for the duck.
And right now, Hodney said, one challenge is where to put any money that's raised.
To this end, the duck could become the very first project for the fledgling Albany Parks and Recreation Foundation, a three-person public benefit corporation with the stated mission to provide parks and recreation opportunities for residents and visitors. The foundation and the duck trio are negotiating the possibility of placing any funds raised with the foundation in order to make the Waverly Duck its first project.
"It's a great first project," said Hodney. "It's a perfect representation of what they can do."
Hodney said he hopes to have an answer on the proposed collaboration by early next week.