Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 6, 2014

Fountain on Mercer Street gets new life

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A fountain that has been out of commission for about 15 years has received a fresh new look to help brighten up Mercer Street.

When the city of Princeton purchased the old First Community Bank building on Mercer Street, it was inspected by a former department head who pronounced the fountain unsalvageable because the walls leaked, and the pump and water line was broken. The inspector gave an estimate of $100,000 plus to repair it, City Manager Elke Doom said.

“With such dismal news the city considered removing the fountain and replacing it with shrubbery and flowers. 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,” Doom said. “With such good news, we purchased a new pump, repainted the interior and had a local artist, Richard Shrewsbury, paint the colorful fish on the interior walls. In the next few days we expect the fountain to be up and running which will create a bright and friendly spot for residents to sit and relax.”

Doom said another bench is being installed and future plans include outdoor tables with umbrellas to provide seating for residents and the anticipated influx of college students from New River Community and Technical College.

The fountain only ended up costing the city of Princeton $975 to fix, Mayor Pat Wilson said.

“The fountain is just really beautiful and a wonderful piece of art to add to Mercer Street.

“The fountain had been shut down  in the past due to vandalism but now a solution will be added to the water to help keep the soap from bubbling,” Wilson said.

The fountain is a wonderful part of the revitalization going on in downtown Princeton, and the fish that have been painted in the fountain are colorful and fun, Lori McKinney, a Princeton Renaissance volunteer, said.

— Contact Anne Elgin at