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Library fountain project may be delayed until 2013

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Work might have to be put off until next spring on replacing the crumbling, bowl-shaped stone fountains in front of Flower Memorial Library.

In a memo last week to the Watertown City Council, City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk wrote that the $68,000 job that also includes repairing the marble walkway in front of the library might be delayed because it would interfere with two other projects. The city wants to install some heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment on top of the library and replace its roof this construction season.

“Since there is limited space for a contractor to mobilize and stage materials at the site, it is reasonable to expect that only one contractor can occupy the site at one time,” Mr. Hauk wrote.

Mr. Hauk said library board members understood the reason for this strategy. As a result, he has suggested combining bids for the fountain work and planned facade rehabilitation. Both projects would be completed next year.

The council is expected to discuss the issue at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the third-floor council chambers of City Hall, 245 Washington St.

In March, the council agreed to complete the work on the 106-year-old fountains. The project will bring them back to how they appeared in the days when library benefactor Emma Flower Taylor had them installed in 1906, just two years after the library opened.

The state Historic Preservation Office recently approved the project, saying it will not have any effect on the historical significance of the building.

Last May, library trustees said they did not want the city to spend more than $10,000 if the repairs would not last more than a year. Some trustees also contended they wanted the fountains removed.

Meanwhile, several other items are on Monday’s agenda, including an update on the Thousand Islands Privateers hockey team’s possibly moving to the city-owned ice arena at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

Council members also will get a breakdown on the Clinton Street reconstruction project. They will be asked to award a $1.4 million contract to North Country Contractors, Calcium, for the project. It includes new paving, sidewalks, curbs, water lines and sanitary sewers.

They will also review a $99,000 bid by 34 & Co., Watertown, to construct a restroom at Marble Street Park.

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