Fenton — Currently, it’s dirty and doesn’t work, but the Fenton Community and Cultural Center
(FCCC) Board of Governors hope to have the fountain on the west side of the FCCC building refurbished and working in the coming months.
Built in 1937, this fountain spouts water from seven ram heads held atop a pillar. In hasn’t been operational in many years, and a fence prevents anyone from getting in the fountain.
The Fountain Restoration Committee, a subsidiary of the FCCC Board of Governors, is spearheading the project.
For renovations, the limestone surrounding the water will be raised approximately 12 inches to create a space for people to sit. A new automatic pump system will be installed, and the top of the fountain will have a new cap. Fine Arts Sculpture Centre of Clarkston cast two new ram heads to replace ones that had been stolen in the past.
The work includes the re-patina of the seven heads, which helps maintain the blue/green antique look.
The expected cost of the project is $59,229. The FCCC will pay $30,000 and the Fenton Downtown Development Authority (DDA) approved up to $30,000 in reimbursement grants for the project in June.
According to a letter from Vince Paris, executive director of the FCCC, to the Fenton DDA during a May 21 meeting, this committee found a document that tied famous sculpture artist Carrado Parducci to the FCCC building. Along with further investigation from Michigan architectural historians, the original ram heads on the fountain may have been contributed by Parducci.
In the 1940s and ’50s, children played in the fountain, but the structure fell into disrepair and was overgrown with ivy. It experienced vandalism, damage, and two of the ram heads were pilfered. In the early 2000s, Venture Crew 212 and Eagle Scout Chris Peters, with the support of the Fenton Kiwanis Club, made the fountain operational.
When the center was expanded and renovated in 2014, the construction eliminated the mechanical operation of the fountain. In 2018, the Board of Governors approved commissioning two new ram heads from Fine Arts Sculpture Centre of Clarkston, which is the same company that created the popular “The Game” sculpture in front of the building.
Earlier this year, the Fountain Restoration Committee presented the renovation concept to Fenton City Manager Lynn Markland and Fenton DDA Director/Assistant City Manager Mike Hart. The committee developed a proposed budget to have the fountain repaired and modernized.
“The Board of Governors and Fountain Renovation Committee believe renovating the fountain (currently the only public fountain in the Fenton area) will not only enhance the attractiveness of the center for the public, but also honor the original design by architect Eero Saarinen and the donors of the center, Horace and Mary Rackham,” according to the letter by Paris.
The new limestone used on the fountain will come from the same Indiana quarry that provided the limestone for the FCCC, Paris said. Saarinen is the architect who designed the FCCC.
Paris expects the work to begin in the next few weeks.
The FCCC will fundraise to help pay the $30,000. These efforts include accepting donations and selling miniature bronze ram heads, replicated to look like the heads on the fountain. They are $300 a piece. To order a ram head, call the FCCC at (810) 629-2512 and ask for Vince Paris.