The following article by Cristof Traudes was published in the May 31, 2010 issue of the Southwest Journal:
NO FOUNTAIN AT CALHOUN SOUTH SHORE
Commissioners say ‘no thanks’ to artistic fountain at Calhoun
Given the choice of a framed view vs. an open view of the city skyline from the south shore of Lake Calhoun, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board opted for the latter.
Commissioners received a study report May 19 on the possibility of installing an artist-designed water fountain near the intersection of Calhoun and William Berry parkways, where the Park Board is currently renovating a parking lot. The 14-foot structure, a bright red curved arrow, would have been angled to frame Downtown’s skyscrapers.
It was the second proposed location for the water fountain, which as part of a larger citywide public arts plan originally would have been placed in Uptown. Because of budget cuts, the fountain lost its funding — until the city approached Park Board staff.
Intrigued by the idea, board staff suggested the south shore location and actually proposed a financing plan to the city’s Public Art Advisory Panel. The panel approved the plan, which meant the Park Board was free to move ahead if it wanted to.
But during the study session, the first time the elected board was involved with the project, commissioners appeared to be unanimously concerned about the fountain’s design
“The scale of it, next to the water, just seems way too big,” Commissioner Scott Vreeland said. “It seems more urban.”
Commissioner Bob Fine noted reassurances the board made last year to the lake’s neighbors that nothing would be built at the site beyond a new parking lot.
“I really would frankly be surprised if people say this should go up,” Fine s aid.
After the discussion, General Manager Mike Schmidt said staff would pull the plug on the project.