Controversy sprouts from iconic Federal Hill fountain


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence landmark is drawing attention following an unexpected change in appearance.

After the large fountain in DePasquale Square in Federal Hill stopped functioning properly, forcing it to be drained, officials filled the bottom pool with plants to improve its appearance.

“The flowers were a suggestion from the city to come in, to help beautify the bottom ring which is not collecting water at this point,” Executive Director of the Federal Hill Association Rick Simone said.

According to a spokeswoman from Mayor Jorge Elorza’s office, structural issues are to blame.

“The administration has worked with merchants in the area over the past few weeks to provide a temporary solution when we realized there were structural issues with the lower half of the fountain that would prohibit it from running,” Emily Crowell, Director of Communications for Mayor Elorza said. “At this time we are assessing what would need to be done to work towards a permanent solution. We know that the Square is home to many businesses so the decision was made to fill the fountain with plants given the fact that the Federal Hill Stroll was just yesterday, rather than leave the fountain empty in the interim.”

At this time, all of the upper parts of the fountain are running.

Reactions from the public have been mixed. Some call the change an exotic new look, while the vast majority say they hope it returns to its original look soon.

“Its a Band-Aid on something that should be fixed immediately,” Walter Potenza of Providence said.

“It’s very pretty looking filled up with plants,” Ron Bianco said. “I like it, nice change.”

Simone said that this is only supposed to be a “temporary fix.”

“I implore the city of Providence to think this over again to see if we can come up with a solution,” Potenza said.

A city spokesperson told Eyewitness News the estimated cost to fix the fountain would be approximately $265,000. Officials plan to meet next Wednesday to discuss the fountain and how to move forward with fixing it.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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