DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) – Actor Dick Van Dyke is taking steps to save his childhood home in central Illinois, which was slated for demolition.
News stories about the threat to the two-story home in Danville, condemned because of its tumbledown condition, reached the 89-year-old actor during the summer. He announced over the weekend that the house will be restored as headquarters for a new foundation to provide scholarships to accomplished young performers.
Organizers of the Dick Van Dyke Foundation hope to establish a museum in the home where Van Dyke and brother Jerry lived during high school after the family relocated from Missouri.
After learning of the house’s dilapidated state, the star of “Mary Poppins” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” recalled the “happy memories drifting around in there” in a tweet to his tens of thousands of followers.
When the city condemned the home in December, officials didn’t know the Van Dyke connection, Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said in July. The property’s last owner died in 2011.
Lance Kirkland, Dick Van Dyke Foundation board president, said in a news release that the organization is working with Todd Regan, executive director of the Walt Disney Birthplace, to launch the new foundation, which will seek nonprofit status.
Van Dyke and his wife, Arlene, “look forward to working with the community of Danville to inspire the town’s young talent to follow in Dick and Jerry’s footsteps,” Kirkland said in the news release. “The foundation hopes to quickly expand its reach to provide support to young singers, dancers and actors across the country.”
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