Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


June 10, 2014

Landmark: Fountain repair welcomed for Princeton

— — Sometimes small efforts can make a big difference when it comes to sprucing up a neighborhood, community or downtown area. Such has been the case in recent months for the greater downtown Mercer Street area of Princeton.

Downtown volunteers and members of the Princeton Renaissance Project have been working since last year on various projects aimed at revitalizing the downtown area. The cornerstone of their work has been the ongoing efforts to renovate and reopen the old Lavon Theater, which is now being called the Renaissance Theater. And the new Artist Alley project also has made quite a difference for the Mercer Street area.

And just last week, a popular downtown landmark that had been out of commission for nearly 15 years was repaired. The city acquired the old downtown fountain last year when it purchased the former First Community Bank building. It was inspected at the time by a former department head who ruled that the fountain could not be salvaged due to a number of problems, including walls that leaked and a pump and water line that was broken, according to Princeton City Manger Elke Doom. The inspector at the time determined it would cost more than $100,000 to get the fountain working again — an expense the city could realistically not justify.

“With such dismal news the city considered removing the fountain and replacing it with shrubbery and flowers,” Doom said last week. “Fortunately, our new public works director, Bo Barker, took a second look at the structure, its pump and water line and discovered the only issue was the need for a new water pump.”

After receiving the new report from Barker, Doom said city crews purchased a new pump and repainted the interior of the fountain with help from local artist Richard Shrewsbury. Images of colorful fish were added to the inside of the fountain — helping to give the old landmark an all-new look. Doom says she is hoping the fountain will be operational in a few days.

When all was said and done, it only cost the city $975 to get the fountain operational again, according to Mayor Patricia Wilson. And Lori McKinney, a member of the Princeton Renaissance Project, correctly adds that the old fountain will play an important role in the ongoing revitalizing efforts.

We agree. And we applaud all involved in helping to get this old downtown landmark back up and running again. It’s another small but key part of the bigger picture when it comes to revitalizing and promoting new growth in the greater downtown Princeton area.


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