Members of local garden and flower clubs said they would help raise funds for restoration of the fountain in South Park.
Restoration of a historic fountain in South Park is a step closer to becoming a reality.
Members of Lawrence flower and garden clubs on Tuesday pledged to help raise funds for an estimated $45,000 to $48,000 to restore the fountain.
"I think if you go to the city commission with a funding plan to help pay for some of the costs, it will move it up as a priority," said Fred DeVictor, director of Lawrence Parks and Recreation.
DeVictor made the comment during a public hearing Tuesday afternoon at the South Park Recreation Center, 1141 Mass.
Representatives of the Lawrence Flower Club, Countryside Garden Club, Prairie Acres Garden Club and Free State Walkers were among about a dozen people who attended the meeting.
A consultant hired by the city, Dave Schwartz, a planner with Larkin Aquatics, has identified two possible options for the fountain.
The first would restore the fountain and place its pumping and electrical equipment underneath the South Park gazebo. Estimated cost: $48,000.
The second calls for pumping and electrical equipment to be built under the fountain. Estimated cost: $44,000.
Participants at Tuesday's meeting said they favored having the equipment installed under the gazebo because, they said, it would be easier to maintain there.
The garden club members also said they want to move the fountain from its current location near Massachusetts Street a few dozen yards north, to the center of a flower garden just west of the gazebo.
"That's the natural place where it should go," said Richard League, president of the Lawrence Flower Club. "It will become a focal point of the garden and the park."
The fountain, originally installed at Ninth and New Hampshire, was dedicated in 1910 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Six thousand people were on hand for the dedication. The fountain was moved to Robinson Park, just west of city hall, in 1929, and moved to its present site in 1965.
It was renovated in 1985, but it stopped working about 10 years ago, DeVictor said.
Supporters of restoring the fountain will meet with city officials again in the fall, when they hope to take a proposal to the city commission.
The restoration and possible move of the fountain also must be reviewed by the city's Historic Resources Commission.
If funding is allocated, DeVictor said, relocation and renovation would take about three months.
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