A grand reopening celebration and dedication was held at Friendship Fountain Park on June 18, 2011, to mark the conclusion of a nine-month long restoration project of the fountain. The project restored one of downtown’s most prominent landmarks that all can enjoy.
The $3.1 million project was managed by the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission on behalf of the city. The contractor was AC General, Inc. and the design team included JBC Planning & Engineering LLC, M.V. Cummings Engineers, Inc., Flagg Design Studio and TLC Engineering for Architecture, Inc.
Improvements include the replacement of broken concrete areas surrounding the fountain with natural grass surfaces, the addition of new benches, trash cans and bollard lights, and installation of new sidewalks, lighting and trees. A new stereo system was also installed. Additionally, the fountain infrastructure was refurbished, including the pumps, piping and electrical systems, to make it fully operational again.
Several improvements were made to make the park and fountain more energy efficient. Native vegetation was utilized throughout the park in order to minimize irrigation requirements. Approximately 80% of the concrete was replaced with green spaces which helps keep the park cooler and reduces stormwater runoff into the St. Johns River. The site and fountain lighting now utilize 159 LED lights which require 30 percent less energy than the old incandescent lighting. A wind anemometer has been installed atop the pump house which will measure wind speeds and automatically raise or lower the fountain jets accordingly.
The restoration of Friendship Fountain will enhance the street-level environment and encourage more walkability throughout the urban core. The greening and softening of the area surrounding the fountain will provide another opportunity for workers, residents and visitors to congregate and enjoy the city’s assets of the Southbank Riverwalk and St. Johns River.
The fountain will operate throughout the day and there will be a programmed “light show” synchronized with music every evening from 8-10 p.m. for residents and visitors to enjoy.