City, county consider what to do with empty Presidio fountain

Presidio fountain fate

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A public art project built in the downtown Tucson Presidio in 1970 has been neglected for years but is now getting some attention.

The project, a fountain built by artist Charles Clement, stands at the east end of Presidio Park, but there’s been no water in it for years.

The reason it’s getting attention now is because it sits right next to the January 8th Memorial which is scheduled to be unveiled in four months on the 10th anniversary of the shooting.

“We can’t have a brand new memorial and the lives lost and the commitment the community has made to that ... and then having a broken down fountain sitting right next to it,” said Steve Kozachik, Ward 6 Tucson City Council member. “That’s just not a good look.”

But what to do and what can be done in such a short time span is pitting the county, which donated land for the memorial, against the city which has been responsible for the upkeep of the fountain.

The county wants the memorial spruced up or mowed down.

But the cost of fixing it up is an issue as well as who might pay for it because it can be expensive.

“Depends on the preservation and restoration,” said Lisa Josker, the director of Pima County Facilities Management. “So the amount would be anywhere from a half million to a million dollars.”

The city and county are in talks right now to determine whose responsible for it.

“It’s in a very deteriorated condition,” said Josker. “In some areas it’s very unsafe which is why we have a fence around it.”

Under an old inter-governmental agreement, the city took ownership of the maintenance of the park and it was thought ownership of the fountain as well.

But that may not be the case.

Until fairly recently it was thought the city owned it,” Josker said. “But research the county is doing, looks like the county owns it.

Which means a new IGA and possibly shared responsibility.

But they are still racing against the clock.

“If it’s still broken when January 8th comes, we’ll put a fence around it and put a ‘Welcome to Tucson’ sign on it,” Kozachik said.

The county administrator’s memo, suggesting public input, did not offer any methods for people to register their thoughts about the project, but people can submit their opinions to Check Huckelberry at chuck.huckelberry@pima.gov; City Manager Michael Ortega at michael.ortega@tucsonaz.gov; or Steve Kozachik at steve.kozachick@tucsonaz.gov.

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