Fountain gets donations and Reds get tips

Monday, June 22, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

When it comes to downtown projects, everybody has an opinion.

Two recent columns, one about saving our deteriorating fountain on Fountain Square and another on the new Reds stadium, generated a generous response.

The fountain's plight and list of much-needed repairs moved readers to offer suggestions, volunteer their services and make donations to help pay for the $1.5 million restoration slated to begin in 1999.

"Save the fountain. It's the soul of Cincinnati." -- Emma Wilcox, Mariemont.

"You got your nerve asking people to contribute to save this awful-looking fountain. Save the children of Cincinnati instead." -- Stephanie Reece, Greenhills.

"Eliminate the Olympics charade and have former Councilman (Nick) Vehr concentrate his efforts on rebuilding the fountain." -- W. Ernst Minor, Mount Adams.

The Cincinnati Boychoir has volunteered to sing at a fountain fund-raiser. "More than any other structure, the fountain is synonymous with Cincinnati. It's also on the choir's emblem," said director Randall Wolfe. He would have his ensemble sing "The Blue Chip City," which contains the line, "we're the Blue Chip City, and as proud as can be of . . . Fountain Square."

"I am 90 years old," wrote Elva Schwalbach of North College Hill. "So, I am rushing a contribution to make the fountain beautiful again with a new perm, shampoo and set. I am also hoping I am still earthbound when the work is completed."

Mrs. Schwalbach's check went to the Tyler Davidson Fountain Restoration Fund. Donations to the fund are being accepted at all Fifth Third Bank locations.

Two Fridays ago, the story broke in The Cincinnati Enquirer about the extent of the fountain's deterioration. My column suggested private donations should pay for the restoration. Fifth Third Bank set up the fund with a $50,000 contribution in the name of its employees. Since then, additional contributions have edged the fund's total to $51,463.17.

Dave Evans, owner of accuPhoto photo shop in Clifton Heights, is "donating $1 for each roll of film I process with at least one picture of the fountain." By his count, "three out of every 10 rolls I see have a photo of the fountain. It's the city's icon." Sylvia St. Cyr, an elementary-school teacher in the Reading school district, pledged "that the 1998-1999 fourth-grade class at Central Elementary School will hold a fund drive to help out. With this project we have the opportunity to teach our children the importance of keeping history alive."

Stadium wishes

Although I still favor a Broadway Commons site for the new Reds stadium, I'm enough of a realist to admit the powers that be on this deal are settling on the riverfront. In a column last week I listed what I want at the new stadium (Retro, red-brick look. Reds Hall of Fame. Fan-friendly ushers. Reds superstore) and invited readers to do the same.

"A restaurant serving good food instead of the slop they sell at Cinergy Field." -- Bill Green, Lockland.

"Guided tours." -- Paul Slater, Richmond.

"A modern look. A retro look won't go with all that new-style white concrete on the riverfront." -- Gregory Waldon, College Hill.

"Allow corporate teams and neighborhood teams to use the facilities when the megabucks people aren't playing." -- Margaret Buresch, Finneytown.

"A kids zone." -- W.C. Jordan, Roselawn.

"A family section (non-drinking) which has good seats." -- Ray Phillips, Anderson Township.

"As close as possible to the Coliseum (the Crown) so that the fans could watch home runs bounce around on the roof . . . the baseballs could be retrieved and used for the next game." -- Clark Crabill, Sycamore Township.

"Terrific accessibility for everyone who is handicapped." -- Janet Greenwald, Springfield Township.

Lois Tuttle of Finneytown came up with an indispensable feature: "A team that can win."

Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.