ASHTABULA — Restoration work continues this summer on the fountain in Cornelius Park.
Larry Fargo, owner of Fargo Machine Co., has been leading the overhaul and improvements of the circular fountain since July 2014, with hopes of restoring the fountain back to its original glory.
The fountain was flowing in 2015, but more had to be done, including repairs, electrical work, shrubbery removal and installation of a new water line. Fargo hopes to complete the entire project, including installing a wrought-iron fence around the fountain, by the end of this year.
"So many people have contributed to the project; it's heartwarming," he said. "There are a lot of good people in our community."
On Monday, Fargo and Randy Woods prepped the limestone base around the perimeter of the fountain for installation of brick patio blocks.
Last week, Doug and Dave Spencer of Spencer Contracting installed fence post footers in preparation for a wrought-iron fence to be erected in the coming weeks.
Lorraine Rennick, owner of Aztek Rental in Saybrook Township, provided the needed rental equipment for free.
"Anything to help the community," she said.
Volunteers from the "I'm in Amazing Ashtabula" Facebook group will plant a perennial, tri-color sedum, later this week.
"The brick patio blocks will accent the colors in the sedum," Fargo said.
Lori Albrecht, owner of Park Avenue Winery, chose the sedum for its colors. Even when not in bloom, sedums still standout in a garden.
"I liked the colors of pink, gray and green," she said. "Sedum is also low-ground cover so people will still be able to see the fountain."
While Fargo and volunteers work on the project, the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association (ADDA) is the fiscal agent responsible for collecting the donations.
The ADDA's main goal is to include as many people as possible to be involved with this project, demonstrating there is a strong showing of community pride and cooperation for restoring and improving this historic landmark, according to the ADDA website.
"Larry Fargo has volunteered countless hours working hard to check off the 2018 task list for the fountain's restoration," said Josephine Misener, ADDA president. "Soon the fountain will once again be providing a wonderful centerpiece for Cornelius Park."
The total estimated cost for all the work is $30,000, and much of the money has been raised through donations and grants. The Robert S. Morrison Foundation made a donation to start the restoration. Ducro Funeral Services made a monetary contribution, as well.
Donations can be sent to the ADDA, P.O. Box 362, Ashtabula, Ohio 44005.
About 50 years ago, Oliver C. Topky donated the fountain to the city and it's been a park landmark ever since. In recent years, the fountain fell into a state of disrepair.
In 2014, Ashtabula resident Darrell Hamilton suggested fixing the fountain. He helped Fargo by providing photographs and information about what the fountain looked like when all of the spray pipes were working.
A dedication ceremony will take place this summer when all work is complete.