Fountain in Warren ready to flow

Attraction on Square expected to be done before Thanksgiving

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Laborer Nickoli Williams of Boardman, a member of Laborers Local 125 of Youngstown, left, and concrete finisher Nick Habuda of Boardman, a member of Cement Masons Local 526 of Pittsburgh, working for subcontractor Pallante Concrete Construction Inc. of Hubbard, set forms for a wall to be poured as construction continues on the fountain in Courthouse Square on Thursday. The project is expected to be done by Thanksgiving.

WARREN — Courthouse Square’s Swan Fountain, once one of the city’s major showcase attractions, has been demolished.

Its replacement, however, is expected to be completed before Thanksgiving, said Franco Lucarelli, director of the city’s utility department.

“The old fountain was in bad shape,” Lucarelli said. “It was not working properly. It was leaking.”

Replacing the aged fountain has been under discussion since 2017. Its genesis came when Mayor Doug Franklin spoke with Andy Bednar, then-president of the Warren Rotary, and a group of its members during a luncheon about what the Rotary could do for the city during its 100th year anniversary.

Franklin had many ideas but eventually said help with restoring the fountain would be a major step in the rejuvenation of the city’s downtown.

“Growing up in Warren, I’ve had an affection for the fountain,” Franklin said. “I always heard stories from friends, families and area residents about their memories of things done around it.”

The city’s downtown in 2017 was in the midst of a comeback with restoration projects at various downtown buildings, including endeavors by entrepreneur Mark Marvin and investments like the $2.5 million at the Raymond John Wean Foundation, 147 W. Market St.; a $1 million restoration of National Fire Repair, 141 W. Market St.; a $3.1 million restoration of the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, 125 W. Market St.; and the $1 million renovation of Best Western Park Hotel, 136 N. Park Ave.

Franklin said the completion of the fountain is only one of several projects expected to be done in the park, including replacing some of the sidewalk and having work done on the gazebo.

The Rotary, along with the estate of Ray Bland, a former Warren Rotarian, raised $50,000 for the fountain project, according to Teri L. Surin, past president of the Rotary Club of Warren. Its cost, however, is expected to be closer to $230,000. It is being paid primarily with money from the city’s general fund and income from its redevelopment fund, which is comprised of dollars raised from the rental of city buildings.

The city’s water department is providing in-kind services to lower the costs.

Murphy Contracting Co. Inc. won the contract to do the work.

The original fountain was built in the 1890s, according to Franklin. The last time it was refurbished was in the 1970s.

It is undergoing significant changes.

“The original fountain was completely demolished and the waterlines replaced,” Lucarelli said. “It will be the same size in diameter, but it will be shallower because of new safety laws.”

The fountain will have LED lights that will be programmable. Water will spout from its center and spray on its sides.

A new pump station with a vault has been placed in it.

The wrought-iron fencing was taken down, so it could be sand blasted, repaired and restored “because we want to retain the historical look,” he said.

Landscaping work around the fountain may be held off until the spring.

The fountain’s iconic swan is being held in an area warehouse, according to Lucarelli.

“I’m not sure if the bird will be placed back on the fountain or someplace else in the city, perhaps in the women’s park,” Lucarelli said.

Wherever it is placed, he expects it to be restored.


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