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Town Council affirms new spot for Bradley Park fountain

Posted On: 11-29-2016

By William Kelly

Daily News Staff Writer

The Town Council said it wants the Bradley Park fountain relocated just south of the Tea House when the park gets its $2.3 million face-lift next year.

The fountain also will have a larger basin, the council decided last week.

In October, the Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved a beautification project for the 1.5-acre park that, among other improvements, will add a looping, 4-foot-wide granite path, walls for four pocket gardens along the north border, flowering trees and tabby sidewalks.

But the approval was conditional because a consensus was not reached on the size and location of the fountain.

The design by SMI Landscape Architecture calls for relocating the fountain, now in the park’s southwest area, close to the Tea House in the heart of the park. But landmarks commissioners couldn’t agree on where it should go, and three options were identified: near the Tea House, as SMI suggested; at the east edge of the green space that will dominate the central portion of the park; or closer to the Lake Worth Lagoon, in the northwest area.

Nobody wants it to remain where it is, in the southwest corner near the entrance to the Flagler Memorial Bridge. The landing of the new bridge, scheduled to open to traffic next month, will be 8 feet higher than the ground under the fountain, said Brian Vertesch, vice president of SMI Landscape Architecture, the firm that designed the project with architect Mark Marsh.

If the fountain stays there, it will be overshadowed, he said.

The issue was before the council last Tuesday so it could weigh in as “owners” of the park, which was deeded to the town by Col. E.R. Bradley with the condition that it preserved for passive use.

Responding to Councilman Richard Kleid’s question, Public Works Director Paul Brazil said putting the fountain at the eastern edge of the green area would cut into the green space — something the council didn’t want.

The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, which is paying for the park makeover, and the Garden Club of Palm Beach, both agreed on the larger basin size and Tea House location.

“We believe this is the best design” said Pauline Pitt, chairwoman of the preservation foundation. “We want to keep the park as passive green space.”

Garden Club President Sue Strickland said the northwest corner location would interfere with views of the lagoon.”We support this [SMI] plan,” she said. “It preserves the beautiful vista of the water … and the green space.”

Mayor Gail Coniglio and Councilwoman Margaret Zeidman both said they, too, favor the Tea House location. “I like it just the way it’s presented,” Zeidman said. “It’s stunning.”

The original Artemis fountain was donated in 1938. Public Works discovered in September that the female figure atop the fountain had broken into three pieces; the cause is unknown. Now in storage, the pieces will be used to recast the figure.

In a related decision, the council unanimously decided to use a “manager at risk” approach to the park construction, which means the contractor assumes liability for unforeseen cost increases but charges more money up front. Brazil said the Preservation Foundation prefers the manager-at-risk approach because there is a guaranteed ceiling on the price and because it enables them to expedite the work schedule.

The price will be known in February, and construction will start in the spring and be complete by the end of August, Brazil said.

Construction vehicles will initially park in the northwest area of the park. As the work moves along, street parking would be affected, but the Royal Poinciana Way and Bradley Place intersectionwill never be blocked, Brazil said.

Coniglio said she likes the schedule. “Certainly it would be a celebration for residents returning next fall,” she said.



Source: William Kelly, November 14, 2016, Palm Beach Daily News

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