Monday, March 25, 2013

Several locations in running for restored Clifton fountain

A minimum of seven sites – including its current one – are being considered for Clifton's Probasco Fountain following its upcoming restoration.

The City plans to restore the bronze and granite fountain, which is located in front of the Clifton Cultural Arts Center on Clifton Avenue. Last cleaned in the late 1970s, the fountain is again showing its age.

Installed in 1887 and designed by Samuel Hannaford, the public drinking fountain was a gift from Village of Clifton Mayor Henry Probasco to his town's residents. Its current location was once at the center of the village, next to Resor Academy and Literary Institute, which also housed the Village Council Hall.

The restoration will include the cleaning of stone elements, the cleaning and coating of bronze elements, cleaning and coating of the subterranean vault, the addition of a sump pump, alterations to water supply and electrical systems.

Because the fountain will have to be disassembled and removed as part of the work, the Clifton Community Fund Board concluded that now might be a good time to explore moving it to a location that will increase public interaction and safety.

"The City is going to move the fountain regardless," said Dick Druffel, chair of the Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) Probasco Fountain Committee. "So the fountain will be somewhere."

'Placeholder' sites up for vote

Seven preliminary "placeholder" sites were revealed at a public input session held Mar. 19, narrowed down from 15 sites suggested during a public meeting held last month.

The approximately three dozen attendees were asked to provide input on each of the seven sites, or a "none of the above" option in which they could suggest additional sites. Following a short discussion, they then were asked to rate their top three sites and to list the attributes of each option that were most important to them.

The preliminary sites include:
  • The current site, which is the lowest cost option;
  • Seven feet to the west of the current site;
  • The northwest corner of Clifton and McAlpin avenues;
  • The southwest corner of Clifton and McAlpin avenues;
  • The top of the Fairview-Clifton German Language School driveway;
  • The bottom of the school driveway, across from the crosswalk;
  • On the south end of the school property, near the exit drive; and
  • None of the above.

Issues to be considered

Some of the sites could prove problematic due to underground utilities, water mains, and grading concerns, and new sites on the Clifton Cultural Arts Center property could be nixed due its outdoor programming and planned future geothermal system.

Additionally, all of the proposed locations are owned by Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), meaning that moving the fountain would require an easement.

"In any case, we have to negotiate both with the school and CPS, whatever the choice may be," Druffel said.

The committee will compile a report and hopes to recommend one preferred site and one alternate site to CTM before its next meeting, scheduled for April 1. Following public debate and a council vote, it will take the options to the City for consideration during the upcoming budget process.

Druffel said that moving the fountain should not require any neighborhood funding or fundraising.

"At this point, we don't believe there will be," he said. "It's a City asset. The City wants it treated respectfully."

Previous reading on BC:
Financing in place, Clifton grocery ready for construction (12/20/12)
Clifton Plaza opens (4/12/10)
Clifton arts center work could begin in January (11/10/09)
Clifton Plaza construction set to begin (10/13/09)
Clifton Plaza in final design phase (6/15/09)