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Fountain is out, seating is in

Town staff finds economical solution to defunct water feature of Fountain Park.

November 30, 2016
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The money-draining fountain near Nervous Nellie's is being laid to rest.

Interim Town Manager Jim Steele presented a plan to end the fountain at the Fort Myers Beach town council's Nov. 21 meeting.

The lighting equipment will be removed and four openings cut into the concrete walls to allow people to walk inside the former fountain and sit along the edges.

Article Photos

This rendering shows approximately where town staff will cut into the fountain wall to allow pedestrians to walk around inside. The fountain apparatus will be removed. Courtesy of the Town of Fort Myers Beach.

With its proximity to the stage and the pavilion, its already a common place for people to sit down, Steele said.

After several town council members' complaints about the fountain's constant state of disrepair and its embarrassing blight during large events held on the island, Steele and Public Works Director Scott Baker set out to find an affordable, short-term solution to the "maintenance nightmare."

"Scott and I thought the fountain is a drain - like a boat, keep fixing and repairing it," Steele said.

The biggest perk? It's a project that can be done by staff, so no additional funds will have to be allocated to the project. To fix the fountain's broken pump and lights would have cost just under $5,000 for parts - Steele brought back a quote for the repairs to the council in October.

The staff solution received praise from town council, many of whom said it would be an improvement upon the current situation.

"It's a fantastic idea. It turns a defunct fountain in to a public plaza with seating," said Council Member Anita Cereceda. "People use that perimeter as a bench anyway."

Everyone approved the seating to go forward, but Council Member Tracey Gore had another solution to look into: turn it into a veteran's memorial.

"We have a lot of veterans, we have a base across the bridge," she said.

Everyone on council agreed it was a good idea, although there was not a clear consensus to go forward with the notion.

Cereceda suggested reaching out to local veterans groups to see if they would sponsor something.

Gore said she thinks the community would come forward with donations for a memorial of some kind. She's also found grants for similar ideas.

"I don't want the veterans to pay for their own memorial," she said.

Gore said she plans to pursue the idea for the beach, especially since "no one knows what to do" with the defunct fountain area.

"Everywhere you go, you see these memorials," she said. "It would be nice to show that Fort Myers Beach loves and appreciates them."

Work on the staff-proposed project began Monday, Nov. 28.

And as for the site's name, Bayside Fountain Park?

"We will have to bring that up," Baker said.



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