Will 2010 be the Year? Finally…

Well after 2009 which started off with really horrible news regarding Friendship Fountain as far as I am concerned it seems 2010 is starting off with at least some positive remarks, now the question is will we see any real action?

Ron Littlepage Jan 5, 2010

Jacksonville’s to-do list for 2010 includes Jaguars, economy”

Dec 18, 2009

Jacksonville can revitalize its core with minimal investment

Letters to the Editor Times Union Jan 3, 2010

Friendship Park: Make the fountain spectacular

Only time will tell and these “Impending Plans” for Friendship Fountain really are pretty vague…

Renovations Coming to Friendship Fountain

From a personal perspective if the City does nothing more then repairs the Fountain so that all three rings work again that would be a huge step in the right direction. Talk about sad, the shots of the Northbank from the Southbank through what is left running of the Fountain during the lone Televised home game this year…


Taylor Hardwick In discussions with City of Jax?

Andy Johnson, a great Friend of Friendship Fountain brought this nugget to my attention yesterday by email.

“From the Financial News and Daily Record:
Architect Taylor Hardwick, who designed the Haydon Burns Library and Friendship Fountain, is working with the mayor’s office on the restoration of the fountain.”

The article can be viewed here, it is just a snippet…

It appears they Typo’d the Companies name that uses the Fountain Image on one of it’s pages, the Company is Grohe Plumbing (Not Grone)

I sent an email to an address listed for Taylor Hardwick asking if any additional information may be available, so if I get anymore I will post it as soon as I get it.

Here’s hoping there is still hope for Friendship Fountain…


City Spin? Bought Air Time? CBS and FOX has the exact same story?

I received an email from Matt Saffer, Fox 30 News, today asking me to call in regards to a story they were planning regarding Friendship Fountain, which I did.

He asked if I had any comment regarding new City plans for the Fountain. I probably went on a bit of a rant regarding what the city has said and done in the past and mentioned the 3 Million RFP the city issued in 2006 and other instances where the city indicated the Fountain needed to be replaced…

RFP: http://www.jaxfountain.com/FountainProject/P1010040.JPG

Susy Wiles: “It can’t be done at any kind of a reasonable cost,” said Mayor’s Office spokeswoman Susie Wiles.

Move Kids Kampus to the site of Friendship Fountain:

Matt also asked if I could possibly be available for an interview which I had to indicate I could not as far as on Camera and then he asked if I could possibly be available for a phone Interview which I indicated I could and provided my number…

No Call.

So I am watching TV tonight and catch the tail end of a Fountain piece on Fox and then while switching back and forth I find another piece on CBS news. I see only a mention that the City has 8 proposals for “revitlizing” the Fountain… Hmmm I seem to remember the City received 7 proposals in 2006? Are these the same?

The stories as I found and captured them, in the event they are altered…
TV30: http://www.fox30online.com/content/topstories/story.aspx?content_id=26aa92ac-622d-44a0-b3ef-9051efc162ca
TV 47: http://www.cbs47.com/content/topstories/story.aspx?content_id=26aa92ac-622d-44a0-b3ef-9051efc162ca

WOW I just realized that after the domain name both URLs are identical… AS are the stories…


I guess I am the only one in town that didn’t realize that FOX and CBS Local news was one… I mean I know that NBC and ABC are basically one but FOX and CBS?

Anyway for what it is worth it certainly appears to me that these two stories are 1: Identical, 2: written by the Mayors Office. and 3: 8 proposals when we had 7 in 2006… Maybe they aren’t really new?… maybe just some new Spin?

Folks in these Economical Times lets just FIX the Fountain so when the next Blimp Shot is taken it looks impressive… Come on that is still the preferred shot to showcase Jacksonville for each home game even with only the outer ring running…

That is my take, what is yours?

Here come the Rumblings again :(

Talk about coincidence, while watching the Game this past Sunday and seeing a Blimp shot of the Fountain (first one I remember seeing since the Super Bowl) with only the outer rings going (as that is all that is still functional) I said to my wife…

“That just makes me so sad, that beautiful Fountain at 1/3 of it’s normal abilities because the Administration is waiting for that part to break so they have all the excuses they need to rip the Fountain Out…”

Then a true Friend of Friendship Fountain brought something to my attention in the last few days…

A story regarding Public Input regarding the Future of Metro Park published in the Jax Daily Record, the full story may be accessed at the following link:

However the following quote got our attention…

“evaluating the feasibility of expanding Metropolitan Park into the space occupied by Kids Kampus and possibly the WJCT property, both of which could be accommodated in another location off the riverfront.”

Ok so where do you suppose Kids Kampus could go? Hmmmmm Hey I know lets tear down Friendship Fountain and stuff it there…

We have heard that refrain before and it would not surprise me if another attempt isn’t made as the Current Administration has made it clear that any attempt to repair the Fountain just isn’t in their plans…

Again I also have to wonder where any funds for anything other then purely needed maintenance would come from, I mean we are seeing increased fees for services previously covered by taxes, the economy is in the Tank and we are talking about what would most likely be another multi “zillion” dollar project…

One question I would love to see any answer to…

What maintenance on existing Parks, Riverwalks and Fountains is being done? ANY?

The last time I was at the Southbank Riverwalk I was shocked at the condition and I have read of possible serious issues with portions of the Northbank Riverwalk.

Now to be honest it has been some time since I was able to venture downtown (well truth be told it breaks my heart when I see the Fountain) and possibly some of these issues have been addressed?

Maybe some folks out there can use the upload link and provide some up to date images of any problems with the Parks and Riverwalks and we can start a Peyton Wall of Shame…

That is my take, what is yours?

Ps… On a personal note Our 2008 Halloween decorations can be seen at the below link:

Budget cuts, How can we afford to fix anything let alone Friendship Fountain?

In view of the major cuts being required as a result of the Property Tax changes and the looming crises we are facing in the condition of the North and South Bank Riverwalks how could we possibly expect the City to come up with money for repairs for Friendship Fountain? (Not to mention the apparent desire by the current Administration to demolish the Fountain)

I think it is time for everyone to step up and take a little bit of ownership.

The City of Jacksonville needs to realize that any Multi Million dollar revamping of Friendship Fountain is not only not feasible but would be fiscally irresponsible (assuming they understand that term when it comes to Pet projects) and to go back to the original plan and estimate for Repairs so that the Fountain could once again be a Visual Center Point of our Great City.

Now I understand that $400,000.00 (which was the estimate 2 years ago) probably has risen but if the City would get a new, solid and bare bones repair estimate and present that as the Cost to restore Friendship Fountain. Maybe we, YES I said WE, as in the Citizens and Businesses of Jacksonville, could raise the money required.

I propose that a Private Business, Entity, Individual or Group, start a “Restore Friendship Fountain Fund” that anyone, individual, business, group, school or school class, could contribute to. With 100% of the Money donated being put towards the Restoration of Friendship Fountain.

Obviously this does depend on the City Officials to obtain a realistic estimate, for Restoration, not renovation (Lets face it folks right now there is no way that a Renovation could be afforded let alone considered), once the amount is raised it is paid directly to the Contractor the City chose and obtained the estimate from.

Hey you never know but maybe, just maybe, this “Restore Friendship Fountain Fund” could become “The Citizens for Jacksonville Parks Restoration Fund” and help in some of the other areas that we have already heard some discussion about or will in the coming year… I am afraid the bad news we have already heard regarding Parks, Parks Maintenance, and the North and South Riverwalks is just the beginning…

Why don’t I start such a Fund? Simply put I do not have the necessary knowledge to administer such an endeavor but I sure would contribute Cold Hard Cash to it, not much, $50.00 maybe another $50.00, but if 1000’s were to donate a few bucks the fund would grow rapidly and then get some businesses involved and School Groups before you know it we would have the money needed to Restore Friendship Fountain.

Got a better idea? Know an Individual or Entity that would take on this Task?

Ok that is my take, what is yours?


4th of July 2007

On this 231st Anniversary of the United States, and my 7th Wedding Anniversary ;), I want to wish everyone a very Happy and Safe Holiday.

While I won’t be going downtown this year for the 4th for those of you who will be one of the best spots to view the City of Jacksonville fireworks is from The Fountain and hopefully they will at least have the outer ring running.

It is also a good time to remember how magnificent The Fountain can be when all rings are running and with a new term of office for our Mayor don’t forget to write, call and just generally BUG the Mayor and your City Council members to get moving on restoring Friendship Fountain.

$400,000.00 is a lot of money but pales in comparison with many of the other “Projects” currently draining our city coffers and this one is something that everyone in the City can see, and enjoy, not to mention Visitors to our Great City and those moments when we get national Exposure on TV.

Help Save Our Fountain!

With that I will leave you with a shot of our Front Yard on the westside decked out for the 4th of July!


Mayor wants to spend $454 Million for Courthouse!

The Mayor doesn’t want to spend $400,000.00 to repair the fountain, which would probably allow it to run for years without anything other then the normal maintenance you would expect but he wants to spend $454 Million for a Courthouse that he felt was too expensive at $300 Million in 2004…

Wow getting reelected sure changed his perspective and our costs…

TV4 has a survey on their News Front Page:

Let your voice be heard.


Friendship Fountain On Hold again?

In this Morning’s Times-Union…

Downtown Vision: What’s the Big Idea?

So after waiting for almost a year we apparently get to wait longer. That repair estimate of $400,000.00 starts looking like a better and better choice everyday, at least we would have a fully functioning Fountain…


Is anyone out there?

I received the following email from 10best.com today…

” Hi! My name is Julius Dargan and I’m with 10best, Inc. We provide free online travel guides at our website, www.10best.com, and we list the Friendship Park Fountain in our Jacksonville database. I am curious as to the status of the fountain – from looking at your website, it appears as though the fountain’s days may be numbered. While I hope that is not the case, I would like your honest opinion concerning whether or not the fountain will ever be returned to its original glory, as I would not want to steer my clients towards an attraction that is no longer there. Your response will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time.”

I wrote back the following…

“Hello Julius,

At this time it would be hard to say what the ultimate conclusion that
will be reached however there are forces at work to preserve
Friendship Fountain and restore it to full function.

The way many see this is the Mayor’s office may be the only ones that
are pushing for it’s demolition and some speculation that there may be
ulterior motives in moving Kid’s Park to the present location of the
Fountain to free that land up for commercial development.

As the Mayor’s office has not spoken a word on the subject since Oct
of last year my fear is that they are hoping that by doing nothing
long enough the infrastructure of the Fountain itself will start
failing more and reinforce their stand that it would be cost
prohibitive to restore.

However others in support of the Fountain have spoken recently and at
least one City council member strongly indicated that they would only
support the restoration of Friendship Fountain so I have not lost hope
but there doesn’t seem to be any quick resolution of this in sight…

Thanks for the inquiry and I wish i could provide more substance
however since this came to light the Communication to me from the
Mayor’s office has been one sided, I write, and they ignore…

If I may have permission I would certainly like to make public your
communication and concern as well as link to your site’s mention of
Friendship Fountain…

Thanks for your interest,

Then Julius wrote back with this…

You are certainly welcome to use my comments in any respect, as well as provide a link to our site if you so choose. I must inform you, however, that as of now it will be up to the judgement of an editor here at 10best as to whether or not the fountain will remain on our website. Good luck with your ongoing efforts to restore this landmark.

Julius Dargan”

One of the Top Ten sightseeing recommendations according to 10.best.com and here we are just waiting and wondering while we get nothing from the Mayor’s office… Just sad 🙁

Oh by the way in the Met Jax Post I mentioned in my last post continues to grow with the majority seemingly wanting FriendShip Fountain restored…

Make your voice heard call and write your City Council Member and the Mayor’s office…