Naperville’s Fredenhagen Park fountain concept designs

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The Fredenhagen Park fountain space has three new concept designs which were presented at Wednesday’s Riverwalk Commission meeting.

City Council previously asked for more concepts

The Exchange Club Memories Fountain at Fredenhagen Park has been shut down for over two years due to operational issues. The Naperville City Council budgeted $400,000 to repair the fountain, but eyebrows were raised regarding long-term maintenance.

In light of that, the council asked the Riverwalk Commission to come up with other concepts for the fountain space. Senior Principle of Hitchcock Design Group, Geoff Roehll, along with his staff, created concepts that could be utilized.

The City of Naperville’s Director of TED, Bill Novack, presented the ideas to the commission.

Repair the Fredenhagen Park fountain

The first is to repair and enhance the existing fountain, which recent research shows may be cheaper than expected. 

“We originally thought, refurbishing the existing fountain that has broken down out there [was] going to be over $400,000,” said Riverwalk Commission Chairman, Patrick Kennedy. “And so we now have some estimates that say that’s closer to $290,000. So that’s much more feasible and falling back into the range of what we were hoping would be more typical maintenance of a fountain of that nature.”

A major fountain enhancement comes from the lighting fixtures, which would cost $104,500. LED lights would be placed in the fountain, but outside of the water, and the lighting color could change on special occasions. With the fountain on, the water would spurt up to 11 feet in the air.

Other improvements include a new liner, which is rarely done, but Roehll says is needed, though expensive. A large water main leak was the original problem with the fountain, and a new chemical treatment box could help with long-term maintenance.

“One of the things that the repair and enhancements do, is to make the maintenance easier on the park district staff,” said Roehll

Natural Water Feature concept

Option number two is a more family-based, natural water feature that would showcase the ecology that makes up the area. The concept includes a smaller water feature in the middle, stacked stones with water cascading down them, and plants. The feature could stand six to seven feet high.

Sculptures of local wildlife would be positioned throughout the feature and plaques with information about them could be included.

“When I saw that, I thought, Oh my gosh, families and little kids would love that,” said Riverwalk Commissioner, Valla Aguilar. “It would be such a draw because of the educational aspect. And my kids would love to go see, like the animals and whatnot, like to learn about them and we don’t have anything like that.”

The cost for the water nature feature has not yet been finalized. As talks progressed, commissioners went over the idea of placing the natural water feature, or something similar, at a different location along the Riverwalk. This option could be included in the 2031 Riverwalk Master Plan, which will expand and update the Riverwalk.

Sculpture concept

The third option is a sculpture and landscape update, which would cost the most initially, but in the long term, would be the least expensive to maintain.

Commissioners questioned the original cost of implementing option three at the park, as just the sculpture itself could be very expensive. Naperville’s most expensive statue, of Joe Naper, cost $175,000.

The group also agreed that the sculpture wouldn’t have the visual appeal compared to the two water features. The Riverwalk Commission came to the consensus to eliminate option three.

Possible decision at next meeting

Commissioners are split between either repairing the fountain or creating the natural water feature. 

Roehll and his design team are looking into long-term maintenance costs for each concept anticipated within the first five years of completion. That information and further details about the options will be presented at the next Riverwalk Commission meeting on August 9.

“We’d love to come to a conclusion (at the next meeting),” said Kennedy. “Take one of those options with some more detail associated with it, and then we’ll recommend that to the City Council and put it in their hands with information on both options, along with our recommendation.”

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