The Flippen Park fountain, a favorite portrait spot for brides, Highland Belles, and others, will get a new look this winter. Don’t expect it to look picturesque again until spring.
The town of Highland Park has hired Lambert’s Landscape Company for the $222,909 project.
Work will include resurfacing the pool and reducing its depth. Crews will replace the plumbing and the filtration system. The concrete fountain that has provided a backdrop for decades of photographs has deteriorated to the point it must go away.
“Age and gravity have worked on that fountain like they’ve worked on me,” Mayor Joel Williams said. “It’s not as pretty as it was.”
In the fountain’s place, crews will install a taller, iron fountain, a plan that initially concerned some neighbors of the park.
“What I heard is that they are tearing it down and going to put up a metal fountain that looks like New Orleans,” Bill Farmer said.
But town leaders reassured residents that the metal fountain recommended by landscape architect John Armstrong would look great in the park. At 12 feet tall, it will stand about 3 feet taller than what is there now.
“The council is interested in something gorgeous, not something tacky,” the mayor said.
To further avoid the look of the Big Easy, the plan is to paint the new fountain a cream color that matches the adjacent gazebo, director of town services Ronnie Brown said.
Brown and Lambert’s president Paul Fields, encouraged by concerned neighbors, had explored a cut stone alternative.
But the cut stone fountain would have been 4 feet shorter than the metal one and would have cost about $20,000 more. The additional funds would have needed to come from private donations and arrive soon enough for Lambert’s to still get to work right away, Brown said.
Instead, residents agreed to the town’s plan, he added.
The town initially had estimated the project would cost $150,000, but only two of the 12 companies invited to bid on the work submitted a bid. The other bid was nearly double Lambert’s.