The sound of flowing water will return to Tattnall Square Park later this year when a fountain will again be built at the park’s center.
That news came Thursday as Andrew Silver, a Mercer University professor and chairman of Friends of Tattnall Square Park, announced that enough money has been raised for the $350,000 project.
Before the first fountain was built there in 1915, Silver said it was described as the “crown” of the park. The fountain stopped working in 1934 and was removed in the late 1960s.
“Today, 100 years later, Friends of Tattnall Square Park is delighted to announce that the crown is coming back to Tattnall Square Park,” he said.
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The project, set to break ground soon and be completed by August, is the latest in a line of improvements at the park, including work on the sidewalks and paths, a rain garden, benches and renovations near the playground. In all, that work has cost roughly $2.5 million dollars, which has included funding from the state Department of Transportation and a special purpose sales tax initiative.
Silver noted the work of volunteers and community members toward the fountain project, specifically the financial contributions of Mercer University, Jim Daws of Sierra Development Corp. and Scott Thompson of Piedmont Construction Group.
“You can have all the goodwill in the world ... and you can’t realize a goal until some generous people help you realize that goal,” he said.
Part of that goal was bringing Tattnall Square Park to the level of other great municipal parks across the Southeast, such as Piedmont Park in Atlanta. To get there, he said, the park needed an element of moving water.
Mercer President Bill Underwood agreed with that assessment after pointing out the “amazing progress” he’s seen at the park located adjacent to Mercer’s campus.
“I think the fountain is an essential component to having a great park,” Underwood said.
Robert Reichert, mayor of Macon-Bibb County, also spoke at the gathering in near-freezing temperatures. Besides thanking Mercer University for agreeing to maintain the fountain, he expressed his excitement over the “public-private partnership” that made the fountain happen.
“It is my understanding that it is this kind of weather that causes the buds to set on the trees in preparation for spring,” he said. “So how appropriate it is on this cold, wintry day we gather here to kind of set the buds for this exciting new development.”
Funding for the fountain got a $200 kick-start from Alexander II first-grader Eliza Grace Wood, who was also present at the news conference.
After seeing the bare flag pole that now stands in the area that will soon be occupied by the fountain, the 7-year-old held a book sale to raise money for a more attractive centerpiece.
She was pleased with what she saw in the artist’s renderings of the fountain, which will have five tiers of bowls of increasing size from top to bottom. It will also include replicas of the frogs from the original fountain, one of which was provided by Savannah resident Al Wise. His father worked on the salvage of the fountain.
“I think it’s going to look pretty,” Eliza Grace said.
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.