It began with some conversation during the John C. Fremont Days festival.
Festival-goers were talking near a replica of an old-time covered wagon in John C. Fremont City Park. During their conversation, some longtime Fremonters began reminiscing about a fountain that had once been in the park.
About 10 years ago, a group of local residents organized with the intent of having another fountain, but that goal never materialized.
Now, a new effort is underway to have a fountain constructed, said Fremonter Don Cunningham.
In conjunction with the Fremont Parks and Recreation Board and Friends of the Fremont Area Parks, the effort is intended to raise at least $20,000 to have a fountain in the downtown park once again.
A few lights would be added for celebration of national holidays. The project would include benches and landscaping. A splash pad, shooting streams of water for children during the summer, would be an added bonus.
Cunningham said the grassroots effort is challenging 1,000 Fremont residents to contribute $20 each to build a park centerpiece which townspeople could enjoy for decades.
“To complete the project, we must provide funds to cover maintenance expenses,” Cunningham said. “We will work diligently to achieve both goals, funding and fiscal preservation.”
Cunningham believes a fountain could be another signature piece for the park.
“I think it would really make a statement,” Cunningham said. “I love fountains, the idea of water that’s active and is moving. I find it calming and peaceful. I think it would be a great place to go and sit in the summer and relax. I think it needs to come back and I think that feeling is shared by others.”
Cunningham pointed out other places in town that have fountains.
“Midland has a nice fountain,” Cunningham said. “It just draws people together.”
First Lutheran Church also has a fountain.
“It’s a wonderful accent piece,” he said.
Cunningham said the park fountain would need to be designed and built so someone wouldn’t fall into it head first or try to use it as a shower or bathtub.
“But I think we can get that done,” he said.
He notes that the proposed project still needs to go before the Fremont City Council.
He’d like to have the fountain built before the next John C. Fremont Days festival.
“I don’t think that would ever happen, but wouldn’t that be fun?” he asked. “I think it probably will take longer than that unless there’s a real push for this and a lot of people suddenly step up. Now’s the time to do it.”
Cunningham said people hope to be part of something larger than themselves and which will leave a legacy.
And the fountain would be around for a long time.
Those interested in donating may do so via a gofundme button on the Friends of the Fremont Fountain page on Facebook. Contributors also may send a check to: Friends of Fremont Area Parks, Inc., c/o Stacy Gibney, First State Bank and Trust, 1005, E. 23rd St., Fremont, NE 68025.
Friends of the Fremont Area Parks is a 501c3 nonprofit group. Donations are tax deductible.