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Councilwoman opposes fountain funding appeal

July 12, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown City Councilwoman Penny May Nigh said she thinks a city appeal for donations to help buy three fountains for city parks and to pay for repairs at a pond is an inappropriate request.

Public Works Manager Eric Deike, who made the public appeal in late June, estimated the total cost of the fountains and work at about $15,000 to $20,000.

Deike said if the money is raised, two new fountains would be installed at Pangborn Park, one in the park lake and one in its garden.

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A third new fountain would go in the lake at City Park, Deike said.

The repair work would be on the so-called "frog pond," a fenced pond between City Park's lake and the concession stand.

Nigh says the fountains and improvements should be paid for by the city government, not city residents.

"I don't feel the citizens should have to cough up any more (money)," Nigh said.

The city should ask the citizens for money only when it's impossible to find the funds elsewhere, she said.

If the city can afford $65,000 for improvements at the Spanish American War Cannon Park at North Potomac Street and North Avenue and $45,000 in storm drain improvements there, then it can probably afford money for the fountains, Nigh said. The money for the park improvements is in the budget for this fiscal year.

Deike said he has been unable to get city government funding for the fountains because money was needed for more important projects.

Deike and city spokeswoman Karen Giffin had no comment on Nigh's remarks.

At an Aug. 6 meeting, the Hagerstown City Council is scheduled to discuss fund-raising for the fountains and whether some city funds can be found to pay for them, Giffin said.

Giffin said the city has received $120 in donations.

A company has also offered to do electrical work for the fountains for free.

The "frog pond" contains three fountains. One is about 8 feet tall and the other two are about 8 inches tall, said Junior Mason, city parks and recreation supervisor.

When they're operational, water squirts out of the smaller fountains through the mouths of cement frogs.

The pond needs electrical and plumbing work, Mason said. The lake now leaks into the pond, he said.

New fountains would increase water circulation and add to the parks' beauty, Deike and Mason said.

Donations may be sent to Hagerstown City Hall, ATTN: Karen Giffin, 1 E. Franklin St., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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