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Fountains in Blackstone and Franklin Squares ready for make-overs

Posted by Your Town  October 20, 2012 10:22 AM

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The following story comes courtesy of the South End News

The water is off in the fountains of Blackstone and Franklin Squares, but that dormant look is deceiving, as renovation and repair work is set to commence on both fountains around November 1, according to a recent announcement by the City of Boston, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Blackstone and Franklin Squares. The project is the culmination of years of planning and negotiation among the three parties. The work will involve removing the fountains, excavating the concrete, replacing the existing water-circulation system, some needed bodywork on the fountains, and reinstallation. The combined cost of renovating the two fountains is $610,000, which will be financed completely from the Mayor’s capital budget.

The contractor selected for the work is Fleming Brothers, and both fountains will receive a new plumbing system that will recirculate water after it is cleaned and filtered, in an effort to conserve water. The black, cast-iron fountains, which consist of a base in the shape of upright dolphins supporting a shell-shaped bowl, will be taken off-site for restoration by a conservator and then reinstalled. All of this is scheduled to be completed by next summer, which is prime time for activity in the two squares.

Neighbors were generally pleased at the news that the fountain renovation will be getting underway soon, and had a variety of ideas for the project. Dave Wisholek, Treasurer of the Blackstone/Franklin Squares Neighborhood Association and a board member of the Friends of Blackstone and Franklin Squares, said, "We are thrilled that both fountains are being restored!" Courtney Trautman, an active member of the Friends group, commented, "We are thrilled that both fountains are going to be done and we are very appreciative of all the hard work by the Friends and Department of Parks and Recreation in making this a reality."

Dan LaBarre, a landscape designer who frequents Blackstone Square with his Boxer, Otis, said, "I am thrilled that they are going to be redone properly. Recirculation is the way to go. I do worry about people peeing in the fountain, because my dog drinks out of it. I’ll just have to train my dog." Mary Beth O’Connell, a regular visitor to Blackstone Square with her dog, Luke, initially reacted, "I like them the way they are," then added, "I hope they paint them a flat black instead of glossy. Glossy might hold up better, but I think flat black is more Victorian."

Mayor Menino said of the long-awaited fountain project, ""The renovations to the fountains will make the parks at Blackstone and Franklin even more vibrant and more glorious than they are now. I foresee people who live nearby going outside more often because there is just something about sitting in a park near a fountain that makes a person relax and appreciate all the little things that make life so worthwhile."

Further details about the fountain renovation will be posted at www.blackstonefranklin.org as they develop.

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