ITHACA, N.Y. — The last piece of the Ithaca Commons redesign — a granite fountain — is complete. The new water feature was celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Monday.
The fountain, designed by Sasaki Associates, is now running on the Ithaca Commons. Inspired by surrounding gorges, water bubbles from one end, winds down and falls onto a granite step, where small sprinklers spray up. The fountain has been a long time coming and has gone through a few design phases.
Steve Headrick, president of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, said having a water feature on the Commons is fitting for Ithaca, which is surrounded by gorges and waterfalls.
Mayor Svante Myrick said this is the final ribbon cutting of the Commons reconstruction, and there have been many. The main Commons, the pavilion, the playground, planters, footprints. While Myrick spoke, 4-year-old Dimitri Anible, climbed on the fountain to play.
Motioning toward Anible, Myrick said, “This is the kind of vitality, the is the kind of life, this is the kind of joy we were hoping to bring.”
The fountain cost about $466,000 to create, according to a news release from the City of Ithaca. The price tag and design have been a source of controversy for some. When the Downtown Ithaca Alliance posted a picture of the fountain on Facebook, many people left negative comments.
Addressing the negative feedback about the fountain being “frivolous,” Myrick said, “I think finding a way to bring this kind of joy and activity, this kind of festivity into the center of our city couldn’t be less frivolous. This is not just a commercial center. This is the cultural and recreational center of our county. And to have this activity, this joy, this life, water, representing life here is no small thing.”
The fountain will operate during the day from May until October. To limit water use, the water fountain system will recycle the water.
Roberto DiVincentis, president of Vacri Construction Corporation, donated funds to the fountain project to honor his father Raimondo DeVincentis, whose name can be seen carved into the feature. The Binghamton-based company was contracted for upgrading and rebuilding the Commons. DeVincentis said the fountain is built to last.
The fountain was initially supposed to be complete when the Ithaca Commons opened in 2015 and was initially projected to cost $700,000.
“I really didn’t think this project was going to happen, and that just goes to show what perseverance can do for you. The city wanted a signature feature … and I think we’re going to get it right here,” DeVincentis said.
After the ribbon cutting, Myrick and DeVincentis took their shoes off to join Anible and step in the fountain. It should be noted, however, that playing the in fountain is technically not allowed.
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Check out some images from the ribbon cutting ceremony. All photos by Kelsey O’Connor/Ithaca Voice.
Featured image: From left, Mayor Svante Myrick, Roberto DiVincentis and Dimitri Anible step in the fountain shortly after the ribbon cutting ceremony. Kelsey O’Connor/Ithaca Voice
Reporting contributed by Olivia Riggio.