110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Rick Tonyan
posted Jul 18, 2012 - 7:38:45am
After having to periodically shut off a fountain in the 3-year-old Chess Park, DeLand city administrators want help to figure out what to do about pebbles that keep falling off the back of the waterfall-like amenity.
Now, administrators are considering several options to end the continual battle against the mini-avalanche of tiny black stones from the fountain.
Or, the city could replace the whole fountain with a mural, sculpture or landscaping.
“There’s nothing set in stone,” said Assistant City Manager Dale Arrington, who added the pun was unintended.
For now, Arrington is asking the City Commission to earmark $10,000 in the next municipal budget to decide what to do about the stones and then fix the fountain.
Arrington wants to hire the original designer of the park, Frank Bellomo, from the Orlando landscaping architectural firm of Bellomo-Herbert & Co. Inc., to come up with a fix.
The stones don’t stay glued to the wire-mesh backing of the wall. They wash down to the bottom of a shallow pool beneath the wall.
Nothing the city has tried so far has made the pebbles stick. When the water is flowing, it’s hard to see the mesh. But, in the early morning, before the city turns on the water, it’s easy to see where pebbles have fallen from the wall. Arrington said the city hasn’t yet added up the cost of replacing the stones.
Every time the wall is fixed, the water has to be shut off and the pool drained. Between stones falling off by themselves, vandals plucking out pebbles, and repairs to the fountain’s fixtures, the water has been stilled repeatedly, sometimes for weeks on end, since the park opened in 2009.
“No glue seems to work,” Arrington said. “Over time, more and more stones will fall off.”
The $1.2 million park, on the east side of the Volusia County Historic Courthouse in Downtown DeLand, was built by the county and then deeded to the city. The city is responsible for operating and maintaining the park.
Ten tables with boards for either chess or checkers built into them are near the fountain. The park is a popular spot for outdoor reading and relaxing.
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