Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Nov 5 - 19 and Dec 3, 2010 Updates... Finally ;)

First my apologies for not posting recently. While i did get the opportunity to visit the Fountain on Nov 5 and 19 I only took a few pictures as while much work was going on the photo evidence was lacking ;)

The pictures from the Nov 5 and 19th visits are located here and primarily show dirt (for grading) and some forms for walkways.
Nov 5 - 19 Pictures

My most recent visit on Dec 3, 2010 pictures are located here and you can see some of the results from the work in the earlier pictures, more grading and poured walkways.

As you can see above the main walkways from the center portion of the Fountain have been poured (the open spaces between sections will be filled with pavers and hopefully on the next visit that will be completed).

Also the hope is to have the final transition area from Friendship Fountain Park to the Southbank walkway completed in the next few weeks which should be the last interruption to the Southbank walkway during these renovations.

Once again my Thanks to the Men from AC General for taking their time to explain some aspects to me as well as providing details on the next steps and allowing us unfettered access. :)

Till next time,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Southbank River Walk Open again!

The Friendship Fountain Bi-weekly update ;)

The portion of the Southbank River Walk immediately in front of Friendship Fountain has been restored and is open for foot traffic again.

It also appears that all underground drainage has been put into place, all the open pipes seen two weeks ago have been covered and there are a number of new drain boxes clearly marked and in place. Today was the quietest I have seen the construction site since the renovations began.

Look for another update in two weeks...


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Belated Oct 8, 2010 Update

Well folks a few days late on the biweekly update but as soon as I got back from The Fountain on Friday I was put into Halloween mode setting up our annual display which can be seen by clicking on the below image...

As far as The Renovations, grounds demo appears to be pretty well done with some actual infrastructure being put into place. As always pictures are posted and the direct link is:

Another update in a couple of weeks and don't forget to Support Our JAGS on Monday Night Football Oct 18, 2010, just think next season they will be able to feature Friendship Fountain during our Home games again!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Sep 24, 2010 Renovation Update

I got down to the Fountain area this afternoon to see what progress had been made and well, WOW ;)

First thing that jumped out at me was the Commemorable Plaque in the concrete near
the entrance of Friendship Fountain park...

Yep as you can see it has been removed, mostly intact, but some damage is evident. I contacted Eric Lindstrom with the JEDC as after reviewing the plans I have available to me it wasn't clear what the plans were for the plaque.

Eric replied promptly with the following:

"The plan is to place a new plaque back within 50 feet of the original location. Due to the condition of the plaque, our plans call for the plaque to be replicated exactly the same as the original. We wanted to keep the plaque at the site until the contractor can properly document the exact layout, materials used, letter types and sizes, etc. Originally, we wanted to use the original, however, the age and condition of the plaque will make this difficult. We are doing everything we can to replicate the plaque exactly as it was, but also making sure it lasts another 40-50 years with all new materials."

Sounds good to me :)

Also got some rare shots of inside the pumphouse where the pumps themselves have been removed leaving only the pipe connections...

Oh and I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the Jacksonville Maritime Museum is OPEN during the Fountain renovations and would urge anyone that has a chance to visit the Southbank to make sure you stop by and get exposed to another rich part of Jacksonville's History.

As the rest of the pictures attest to there has been lots of work, this isn't the Courthouse ;) project, and we will continue to try and keep things updated.

Once again my our thanks to the Folks of AC General who just have been great about access and Eric who has been extremely supportive with information.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Construction Pictures taken Sep 10, 2010 Added..

Took a trip down to Friendship Fountain this afternoon, accompanied by my very Pretty Daughter, Samantha, who is in a couple of the pictures.

Even late on a Friday afternoon the contractors were hard at work still in demo mode removing the concrete and park areas around the Fountain base. It appears to be about a 4 to 5 foot deep dig around the fountain circle.

Took a few minutes to walk up the Main St. Bridge to get some shots as well. I noticed that the water curtains running around the Maritime Museum were not running and I am not sure if they are in need of repair or not?

Anyway no questioning progress is being made and I once again want to thank AC General for their allowing us full access.


Monday, September 06, 2010

Interesting Historical Tibit...

I received an email the other day from Patricia Lellouche who was secretary to Frank W. Sherman, President and Chairman of the Board of the American National Banks. back in the day...

The fountain was originally the idea of Frank W. Sherman,
President and Chairman of the Bd. of the American National
Banks at the time. He got the idea at a bankers' convention
in St. Louis. He wanted Jacksonville to have something
similar to their arch. It was named after Dallas Thomas so
that the fountain could be built.

How do I know this? I was
Frank Sherman's secretary at the time. This information was
also included in an article in the Times Union about Sherman's

Thanks for the information Patricia...

For those saying who is Dallas Thomas, he was a City Commissioner back in the 60's who was later involved in a scandal...

From wikipedia.org...
The Fountain was originally called the “Fountain of Friendship in Dallas Thomas Park”; friendship at the suggestion of a Rotary Club member and Dallas Thomas after the city's parks and finance commissioner.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Labor day Holiday and just think next year on Labor Day we should be looking at a completely restored Fountain and renovated Park...


Thursday, September 02, 2010

More coverage of the Fountain Renovation

In Thursday's Times Union two additional stories...

Times Union Sep 2, 2010 Front page With renovation, Jacksonville's Friendship Fountain will fly high again By Dan Scanlan

Times Union Sep 2, 2010 Ron Littlepage Welcome improvements coming on the Southbank

It will be exciting to continue tracking the renovation work and see the progression of the changes to the Park and see the Fountain back in full operation when this is all done :)

I also would like to take this opportunity to remind folks that they can submit their own pictures of Friendship Fountain at anytime at the following link:


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

More from the Ground Breaking Ceremony.

Wow I still can't believe it, but it is finally reality not only are we keeping Friendship Fountain but we are getting it renovated as well as an upgrade to the park area...

It was just about 4 years ago when the idea of replacing Friendship fountain with Kids Kampus was floated...
http://jacksonville.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/stories/2006/03/06/story7.html . A pretty detailed history of getting up to this point can be seen here: http://friendshipfountain.com/index1.shtml

However today, when cooler heads finally prevailed, we have the ground breaking for the $3.2 Million Friendship Fountain & Park Renovation.

The Mayor spoke for a few minutes extolling the value of Friendship Fountain and park as the "50 Yard Line" of the City of Jacksonville and his hopes this will be just the first step in many revitalization projects and initiatives.

Eric Lindstrom, Redevelopment Manager for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission was present along with many other members of the Development Commission. City Councilman Warren Jones was also present.

Dan Scanlan of the Times Union was present and he interviewed me for a few minutes, Dan and I go way back when it comes to issues regarding the Fountain ;). Dee from Action News also was present and interviewed me at length on camera, hopefully that will never see the light of day
Link to Jacksonville.com's Same day coverage. Watch: Groundbreaking at Friendship Fountain. Additional coverage expected on Thursday from Dan Scanlan and Ron Littlepage...

News4Jax coverage http://www.news4jax.com/news/24841680/detail.html

Action News - TV-47/TV-30 Coverage Friendship Fountain restoration

I also got the opportunity to meet with some representatives of AC General, the General Contractor for the Fountain Renovation. Danny Strickland, one of the principles for AC General, Michael Johnston the Project Manager and another Project Manager for AC General, Marty, who it appears is also AC General's IT Advisor.

Danny has indicated that JaxFountain.com will be more then welcome at anytime to keep documenting the course of the renovation and the entire AC General Team has been more then kind to us...

Lots more pictures from the ground breaking are located here:

Also some new pictures have been added to the General renovation gallery as some construction work had already begun, the Fountain itself has had all hardware removed and they have begun demolition on the area of the Park adjacent to the Riverwalk.

Once again my Thanks to everyone that has helped in any way to get to this day and special thanks to Eric Lindstrom for his communications and to the folks from AC General for their cooperation and open access.

Till next week,

Friendship Fountain Renovation Ground Breaking

Just got back from the Friendship Fountain Ground breaking and wanted to post just a quick note and picture.

More pictures coming...

Mayor Peyton, Councilman Warren Jones and many others were present and I will post more later this evening...

Just think 2 years ago the City was going to demolish the Fountain and move Kids Kampus to the Park area and today we had ground breaking for a $3.2 million dollar renovation for Friendship Fountain and the surrounding park...

That is HUGE!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Signs of Progress :)

The renovations for Friendship Fountain and Park are now showing visible signs...

1: Official Project sign in place.

2: Friendship Fountain Park is Closed.

I have been told that actual Demolition will begin Monday Aug 30, 2010 in the morning and the Official Ground breaking is scheduled for Wednesday Sep 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM ET. I plan on being at the Official ground Breaking to grab some pictures for the web site as well as pictures of any actual demo done to that point.

3: Friendship Fountain has been drained...


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Friendship Fountain Renovation Update

As a result of a couple of inquiries regarding access to Friendship Fountain and the Park for school trips during the school year I contacted Eric with the City Economic Development Commission and Richard with the Contractor AC General and while the renovation work will have some impact on access to the Park and Fountain, MOSH Administrators and the Contractor have met and arranged to provide picnic areas for the Jacksonville School Children's Field trips to MOSH during this school year.

I have always maintained that one of the most important aspects of ensuring that Friendship Fountain be maintained and kept as a Downtown center piece was for the simple reason that for almost 40 years Jacksonville School Children have taken field trips to The MOSH and were exposed to the Fountain as part of those trips and I am ecstatic that steps are being taken to ensure an uninterrupted continuation of this staple of our children's growing...

Thank you City of Jacksonville, The MOSH and AC General for working together to see that our children can continue this tradition during these much needed renovations and once completed will make these field trips even more enjoyable and memorable for our children.


Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 Renovation Picture Tracking

We have added a new Picture Album with pictures just taken on Friday August 13, 2010 of the Fountain and surrounding park.

Hopefully as the renovations get started we will be adding pictures of the work and progress until completion.



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BIG News! Friendship Fountain/Park Renovations!

Just got an email from Eric Lindstrom, Redevelopment Manager for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, with an update....

Drum roll please...

The contract on the above project is still going through the execution process. The selected contractor is AC General, Inc. We hope to begin demolition in the next 2-3 weeks. Thank you for your inquiry.

He followed up that email with contact information for AC General Inc, Richard McInturff, PM, who I have already been in contact with who has indicated they will try to keep JaxFountain.com updated with progress...

I also found the following links referring to the project:

The below link contains .pdf drawings of the project for those so inclined...

I plan on getting some current photos of the Fountain and Surrounding Park this week and hope to be able to obtain groundbreaking as well as incremental images of the renovations as they proceed and post them to the JaxFountain.com web site...

Stay tuned we will post any updates as they arrive... Finally some action ;)


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Friendship Fountain/Park Redevelopment Update

On March 11, 2010 I posted communications I received from Ron Barton, the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, indicating to contact him again in May for an update.

I emailed Ron on May 11, 2010 and today received a reply that Eric Lindstrom,
Redevelopment Manager for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, would be
contacting me with additional information, that email was received less then an hour later.

The Friendship Fountain improvements will be let for bid May 26. We will open bids June 30. I would anticipate a construction start date by August 1. I can give you a better idea on the actual start date in mid July. Contact me then and I can be more precise on the exact start date. Thanks.

Eric Lindstrom

So I want to thank the Mayor, Ron Barton and Eric Lindstrom for keeping us informed regarding this long overdue restoration and hopefully come July we will know the full exact scope of work and time frame for restoring this Jacksonville Downtown Centerpiece.

Edit: Eric provided additional information regarding the plans for the restoration which can be viewed by accessing the below link and clicking on "February 2010 (PDF 8.94Mb)"

A direct link to the PDF file is below:
DDRB Meeting Packet February 2010.pdf

Stay tuned...


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Protest Senate Bill 6 At Friendship Park

Deborah Gianoulis will be leading a protest against Senate Bill 6, also known as the Teacher Merit Pay bill, today, April 14, 2010 at Friendship Park starting at 4:00 PM ET followed by a march across the Main Street Bridge at 5:00 PM ET.
FirstCoast News Story Link


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Friendship Fountain Refurb Update

I sent an email to the Mayor on February 22, 2010 requesting any information on scheduling for the work that is to be done on the Fountain and Southbank riverwalk.

Today I received a reply from Ron Barton the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission as follows:

Hello Bob. We are still a 2-3 months away from any actual construction.
Just check bak with me via e-mail around May and I should have a
construction schedule updated and that can guide our start and progress.

Which I quickly replied to thanking him for the information and assuring him I would be checking back in May.

Later in the day I realized that the mail contained a Communication to Ron from the Mayor...

Ron, please respond on my behalf and copy me. Thanks.

Glad to see it appears I am off the freeze out list :)

Can't wait to get more information and will do my best to update images on the site once work commences...


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Finally some love for Friendship Fountian

It was just announced that the Jacksonville City Council approved the Mayor's plans for Friendship Fountain...

I cannot wait to see what actually gets done!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Will 2010 be the Year? Finally...

Well after 2009 which started off with really horrible news regarding Friendship Fountain as far as I am concerned it seems 2010 is starting off with at least some positive remarks, now the question is will we see any real action?

Ron Littlepage Jan 5, 2010

Jacksonville's to-do list for 2010 includes Jaguars, economy"

Dec 18, 2009

Jacksonville can revitalize its core with minimal investment

Letters to the Editor Times Union Jan 3, 2010

Friendship Park: Make the fountain spectacular

Only time will tell and these "Impending Plans" for Friendship Fountain really are pretty vague...

Renovations Coming to Friendship Fountain

From a personal perspective if the City does nothing more then repairs the Fountain so that all three rings work again that would be a huge step in the right direction. Talk about sad, the shots of the Northbank from the Southbank through what is left running of the Fountain during the lone Televised home game this year...