The bills and the Phils.

Those are the two hurdles left for the fan-fueled campaign to erect a Harry Kalas statue at Citizens Bank Park.

And both could be overcome shortly - perhaps even by Opening Day, which is two weeks away.

The legendary broadcaster has already been immortalized in a third of a ton of bronze, and recently Phillies executives look it over at the Laran Bronze foundry in Chester.

Officially, they won't comment yet, but sculptor Lawrence Nowlan is hoping to get club approval soon - ideally before a big fund-raising party at the park on March 31, he said.

The todo - featuring food and drink specials, a raffle, a silent auction and notable guests - starts at 7:30 p.m. at McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon, as the Phils play the Pittsburgh Pirates in a tune-up game the night before Opening Day.

A previous benefit there raised about $12,000, Nowlan said.

"Twenty-five thousand dollars is the number we're still looking to raise," said the lifelong Phillies fan who was raised in Merion and graduated from Archbishop Carroll High.

The first $50,000 donated still left bills.

"Everything that's been raised has gone to casting so far," Nowlan said.

"Harry the K" was the voice of the Phillies from the day Veterans Stadium opened in 1971 until April 13, 2009, when he died before a Phillies game against the Nationals in Washington.

By fall, Norristown lawyer Greg Veith had set up a nonprofit called Dear Harry Inc., and Todd Palmer, owner of the Virtual Farm Creative ad agency in Phoenixville, had set up a website,

Nowlan was best known for his bronze rendering of Honeymooners bus driver Ralph Kramden at the Port Authority terminal in New York.

"There's a lot of donated time," Nowlan said that December, probably underestimating how much.

He worked full-time for nine months, creating clay models at his Vermont studio and assisting the campaign, he said.

The key, of course, is getting the Phillies' blessing, at which point, Nowlan hopes, some corporations might step up with sizable contributions, the way Doylestown Heart Institute did.

If the club says yes, one could imagine a Harry Kalas Night being added to the schedule for the unveiling.

It's a been "a long drive," as Kalas often said, for the campaign, and perhaps a recording could add, "Watch that baby!" as the covering is removed.

Then someone could say, Harry isn't "outta here" ... now he's "forever here."

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or