Better Days Ahead for Fountain?
Friday, November 17, 2017 2:40 PM

The Schiffman Fountain before the ravages of time completely settled in.

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is teaming with two foundations to restore the Schiffman Fountain, the oldest fountain in Como Park. As anyone could see this summer, the 121-year-old bronze sculpture and fountain are deteriorating rapidly in looks and performance.

Restoration not only would repair the sculpture, fountain and pool, but also could bring them up to modern standards. That includes the possibility of computerized water jets and LED lighting, says Eric Thompson, public art program manager for Parks.

If all the paperwork falls into place, the City Council could vote in December to accept funding for the restoration. If that happens, and if unseasonably warm weather continues, Thompson says, the fountain  actually could be moved into storage before December is over.

Rudolph Schiffman, a member of the original park board, donated the fountain in 1896. It was the first fountain in Como Park, The mermaid design is based on a fountain Schiffman saw in Barcelona, Spain. The fountain, now covered and shut down for the winter, is east of Lexington Parkway and south of the Lakeside Pavilion.

Jim Gerlich, a distant relative of Schiffman, represents the Cedarwood Foundation, one of the organizations partnering to restore the fountain; the Berglund Family Foundation is the other. Kristin Cheronis, the Parks’ art conservator, will oversee the project from the city side, Thompson says.

Parks and foundation representatives are exploring the costs of both basic needs and “wish list” items, Thompson says. These include:

  • Restoring the fountain, pool, and underwater lighting
  • Designing a customized cover to ensure the sculpture and pool no longer endure the ravages of winter
  • Adding an educational plaque
  • Renovating landscaping around the fountain

Thompson says the Ramsey County Garden Club is interested in assisting in landscaping after the fountain is renovated.

On Oct. 17, the District 10 Como Community Council board designated neighborhood resident Ann Schrooten as District 10’s liaison for the renovation efforts.

Updated Dec. 1, 2017

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at]

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