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CITY OF LINCOLN   •   NEWS RELEASE   •   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:
July 20, 2001
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Lynn Johnson, Parks and Recreation, 441-8265

Two Fountains on Centennial Mall to be Filled with Soil and Planted

Mayor Don Wesely today announced that two of the six fountains on Centennial Mall will be filled with soil and planted with grass because of their poor condition and safety concerns. The city Parks and Recreation Department and the Capitol Environs Commission recommended the filling of the fountains just south of "M" and "R" streets.

"The fountains in the block just north of the State Capitol are a priority for us because they are most important to the image of our landmark building," said Mayor Wesely. "Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to keep all the other fountains in operational condition. The two fountains to be filled no longer hold water, they are not attractive and they do pose a potential for injury. Filling them is the most economical alternative at this point."

The Mall, which links the Capitol with the UNL campus, was opened in 1968 and was envisioned in the 1920s by Capitol architect Bertram Goodhue. Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said the concrete paving is now pitted, cracked and heaved from the freeze and thaw cycles of many winters. The Red Oaks planted to frame the Capitol are cracking and lifting the tree boxes and surrounding pavement, and the Snow Crabs have overgrown their space. Many of the landscape plantings are reaching the end of their useful life span.

In 1997, the Capitol Environs Commission hired the urban design team of Bahr Vermeer Haecker Architects of Lincoln and EDAW of Denver, Colorado to develop a master plan for renovation of the Mall. The team's award-winning plan raised concerns about the loss of on-street parking, traffic circulation, the cost of the project and the source of funds. Efforts to have state funds appropriated for the project failed in the 2000 state legislative session. The Commission is reviewing plans and hopes to offer revisions later this year.

Johnson said the fountain nozzles in the block between "K" and "L" streets are rebuilt each winter by his staff. Earlier this year, $10,000 was invested in upgrading the electrical service panel and rebuilding the pumps that drive the fountains. Johnson said the city intends to continue to keep the four remaining fountain jets in operation as decisions are made regarding future renovation of the Mall.

Mayor Don Wesely today announced that two of the six fountains on Centennial Mall will be filled with soil and planted with grass because of their poor condition and safety concerns. The city Parks and Recreation Department and the Capitol Environs Commission recommended the filling of the fountains just south of "M" and "R" streets.

"The fountains in the block just north of the State Capitol are a priority for us because they are most important to the image of our landmark building," said Mayor Wesely. "Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to keep all the other fountains in operational condition. The two fountains to be filled no longer hold water, they are not attractive and they do pose a potential for injury. Filling them is the most economical alternative at this point."

The Mall, which links the Capitol with the UNL campus, was opened in 1968 and was envisioned in the 1920s by Capitol architect Bertram Goodhue. Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said the concrete paving is now pitted, cracked and heaved from the freeze and thaw cycles of many winters. The Red Oaks planted to frame the Capitol are cracking and lifting the tree boxes and surrounding pavement, and the Snow Crabs have overgrown their space. Many of the landscape plantings are reaching the end of their useful life span.

In 1997, the Capitol Environs Commission hired the urban design team of Bahr Vermeer Haecker Architects of Lincoln and EDAW of Denver, Colorado to develop a master plan for renovation of the Mall. The team's award-winning plan raised concerns about the loss of on-street parking, traffic circulation, the cost of the project and the source of funds. Efforts to have state funds appropriated for the project failed in the 2000 state legislative session. The Commission is reviewing plans and hopes to offer revisions later this year.

Johnson said the fountain nozzles in the block between "K" and "L" streets are rebuilt each winter by his staff. Earlier this year, $10,000 was invested in upgrading the electrical service panel and rebuilding the pumps that drive the fountains. Johnson said the city intends to continue to keep the four remaining fountain jets in operation as decisions are made regarding future renovation of the Mall.

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