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South End celebrates newly renovated fountains

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  August 13, 2013 12:32 PM

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(Photo by Johanna Kaiser for Boston.com)

Philip Drapos, a board member of the Friends of Blackstone and Franklin Squares, speaks in front of the Blackstone Square fountain at its official unveiling.

Two newly renovated fountains are up and running in the South End’s Blackstone and Franklin Squares.

The Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department celebrated the official unveiling of the renovated historic fountains Tuesday evening with a ribbon cutting, family activities, and treats.

“These fountains make a big difference,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino standing in front of the fountain at the center of Blackstone Square, where local children, neighbors, and many of their canine companions gathered.

Before the ribbon cutting, children played with hula-hoops and jump ropes, played in an interactive inflatable from the Boston Children’s Museum and snacked on Hoodsie cups.

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Children help City Councilor Bill Linehan, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Chief of Environment and Energy Brian Swett, and state Rep. Byron Rushing cut the ribbon to the Blackstone Square fountain.

The decorative iron fountains were originally installed around 1850, according to the Parks Department. The fountains were removed in November and the concrete basins were excavated to install water recycling and pumping systems. The concrete portions of the basins were then re-laid and the limestone reset. The fountains were restored before being placed back on the pedestal.

The City’s Capital Improvement Plan and the Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association funded the project. The project had a $65,000 design budget and a $611,750 construction budget. The surrounding pathways were also repaved.

“Today is as much about celebrating the value of our parks as it is celebrating the restoration of these fountains,” Philip Drapos, a board member of Friends of Blackstone and Franklin Squares, said.

“The parks not only provide a peaceful respite from city life, where any one of us can come to relax and enjoy a slice of nature as well as the fountains, but they become a place to meet neighbors, to make friends, and truly represent a catalyst for building a community,” he said.

The friends group plans to add new benches and trash receptacles to the squares and is working to establish an endowment to help maintain the parks.

Menino’s administration has been working to renovate fountains across the city and he applauded residents, neighborhood groups and city departments working together to improve the city’s parks.

“Let’s stay engaged in the parks. The parks are an important part of our city,” he said. “This fountain is very important to the city. It’s part of the uniqueness of Boston.”

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(Photo by Johanna Kaiser for Boston.com)

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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