Three Strikes On The Arnold Park Project

To the Editor:

I just finished reading the article in Wednesday's (June 5) newspaper regarding the Arnold Park and I can stay silent no longer.

This fountain project is another case of "The Emperor's New Clothes" story.

I challenge anyone to drive down Main Street and look up at the park. See how the decorative street lights are arranged? Now, look at the one to the left of the fountain. I know this sounds rather picky but just how much did the town pay for the services of this so-called landscape architect? These should have been placed in a balanced way around the perimeter of the park. Strike #1. The placement of the electric device? Not too bad if you can hide it with some shrubbery. Again, this was a costly architectural design. Strike #2.

But the biggest strike of all? The base of the fountain, if this were some ritzy city plaza? Yeah, real nice. But this is an antique, ornate, bronze fountain. Think.

Antique Roadshow: wow, this is a beautiful Chippendale piece dating back to the mid 1700s. The good news? On today's market it would fetch approximately $14,000.

The bad news? Had you not stripped the original finish off and refinished it the value would be in the $35,000 to $40,000 range.

Do you get it? They took an antique fountain and put it on a contemporary base. I actually feel sorry for anyone who lives near the park. It sounds like a cow pissing on a flat rock. All across America these kind of fountains were installed with the traditional basin of water. Gentle sound of rain falling in water.

Sorry to sound so negative. But please, please do not hire this landscape designer to tell you what to plant and where. Mr. Grimes of Waterford is a successful and established local businessman. He can tell you what to plant and how to plant it. As to where to plant trees and shrubs, just look to the same people who have been beautifying this town for the last 30 years, check out the Fred Mold Park and Portland Street to name a couple examples.

So there you have it. If it were up to me and we could raise the money, I would replace the modern base with a traditional basin of water. Next best scenario? Plant the trees, now.

Chris Hahr

St. Johnsbury, Vt.

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