Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans to repair and restore the plaza and two historic fixtures in the center of the Fountain Square neighborhood May 10. The estimated $250,000 project will provide needed structural and aesthetic upgrades to the Fountain Square Plaza, as well as the Lady Spray and Pioneer Family fountains and sculptures.
The name “Fountain Square” has been associated with the neighborhood just southeast of downtown since the original version of the Lady Spray Fountain was constructed in the late 1800s as a drinking place for residents and horses at the intersection of Virginia Avenue, Shelby Street and Prospect Street. The current version of Lady Spray was installed in 2009, and has experienced significant deterioration and weatherization. The fountain itself will need to be disassembled to enable extensive repairs including restoration of the cast iron feature, replacement of missing grates and equipment parts and repair of leaks in the basin.
The second fountain in need of restoration includes the Pioneer Family sculpture, constructed in the early 1900s, depicting a westward-advancing pioneer family. Plans for the fountain include improvement to lighting, architectural upgrades and basin and equipment repair. The adjacent plaza, constructed in 2012, is slated for surface and canopy repair, as well as upgrades to existing light fixtures.
“Fountain Square is one of Indianapolis’ most storied neighborhoods – a longtime staple of commercial success and innovation, and a thriving arts and cultural destination for residents and visitors just southeast of downtown,” said Mayor Hogsett. “The Fountain Square Plaza, and its historic fountains, serve as the backdrop of this community, which is why we must preserve these important assets. This project will set in motion the restoration and future maintenance needed to ensure that the people of Indianapolis are able to enjoy these public spaces and art for decades to come.”
The city of Indianapolis is conducting the Fountain Square project in partnership with local business owners, residents, community groups and the Greater Virginia Avenue Corridor Economic Improvement District (GVAC EID). “The magnitude of repair work required for our fountains exceeds the capacity of community partners. Without this partnership, the fountains will continue to deteriorate. We are very appreciative of the city’s support to preserve our history,” said Mike Halstead, GVAC EID board co-chair.
The city will release the request for proposals and request for quotation in the coming days, beginning the three-month restoration process. All repairs are expected to be complete by late September.