Search for Cary park fountain continues

aspecht@newsobserver.comApril 11, 2014 

This sketch shows the design Cary Town Council members prefer most for the future downtown park.

TOWN OF CARY

— Council members Don Frantz and Jennifer Robinson high-fived when they saw the first concept fountain drawn based on their feedback.

“We can just stop now,” Robinson said.

They couldn’t stop, though.

Planning consultants had two more sketches to show Cary leaders at a special meeting on Thursday.

And when they did, council members couldn’t settle on just one fountain design for Cary’s future downtown park.

The Town Council is three months deep into its search for the perfect fountain to install at the corner of Dry Avenue and South Academy Street.

The council is now closer to picking a fountain, but a final design won’t be available by May 12, when the town will reveal details about the downtown park to the public.

Cary plans to spend about $15 million to develop a park and commercial space on 20 acres between Academy and Walker streets. The town plans to spend up to $5 million on a town square across from the Cary Arts Center.

The square will be anchored by a large fountain that’s surrounded by grassy space and a plaza with bistro tables.

One of the designs presented Thursday calls for a fountain that’s 40 feet wide and 12 feet tall. It would have three tiers of cascading water and jets that shoot the water in multiple directions.

Most council members said they favor this design, but they want the third bowl to be more elevated – maybe 20 feet off the ground.

“I like the idea of having an illuminated glass ball at the top ... and the glassy look of water coming down,” Robinson said.

Jack Smith was the only council member to speak out against the first design.

“When I saw the first one, I said to myself, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ It’s too big and overwhelming,” he said.

Consultants will try to nail down a final concept and present it to council members in two to four weeks.

By then, four months will have passed since the council rejected the first fountain designed by renowned artist Larry Kirkland.

The extra time put into the project will be worth it, said Scott Hazard, a project manager with Raleigh-based engineering firm ColeJenest & Stone.

“This is going to be the iconic statement of the town,” he said.

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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