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Mayor says interactive fountain could be discussed at upcoming work session

A screenshot of the interactive fountains at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa. Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold has said his idea to install such a fountain in town is based on this design.
A screenshot of the interactive fountains at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa. Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold has said his interactive fountain idea is based on this design.

Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold recently reiterated his desire to install an interactive fountain at the city’s marina, and the news quickly brought a flood of reactions from Safety Harbor Connect readers.

Of the dozens of comments we received on the topic, supporters of the fountain outnumbered opponents of the water feature by a ratio of two-to-one.

And while the sample size is admittedly small, the number of impassioned responses underscores the fact that the fountain is the type of capital improvement project that can unify, or divide, a community.

“As a Runner, I think it’s an AWESOME idea!” Valerie Smith commented on our website and Facebook page.

“What a wonderful way for runners, bikers, walkers, kids, dogs, etc. to cool off while out enjoying the Harbor, the Pier, and the Waterfront Park…I am all for it.”

Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold.
Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold.

“I think it’s a (sic) idea that should certainly be explored,” a reader named Jan wrote. “The cost seems low compared to the many people who would enjoy it.”

“I think an interactive fountain at the marina would be a unique way to set Safety Harbor’s waterfront apart from other localities,” another reader named Valerie wrote. “I’m in support of Mayor Steingold’s idea.”

Despite the majority of positive responses to the proposal, not everyone is on board with the mayor’s idea.

“Waste of money,” Mike Blue wrote on Facebook. “Why on earth would anyone let elected officials spend this kind of money on unnecessary things.”

“I was not aware the city has all this extra money to spend on items like this,” Tom Tracy wrote. “I guess every other need has been filled, all the employees got raises and everything is 100% through out the city.”

A few readers also expressed displeasure with the notion that the interactive fountain would be replacing the community fountain that currently sits at the entrance to the marina.

The community fountain at the entrance to the safety Harbor Marina.
The community fountain at the entrance to the Safety Harbor Marina would remain, the mayor said.

“I love our wildlife fountain, we all worked very hard to get designed, approved and built,” Francie Rogal wrote on Facebook. “It would be crazy to replace such a glorious piece of art”

“keep the fountain as it is it is beautiful people love it,” Laura Dent added.

NOTE: Mayor Steingold has stated that the interactive fountain would NOT replace the fountain located at the entrance to the marina; it would be located further down the marina closer to the pier and act as a complimentary attraction for the new Waterfront Park.

“It would be part of the Waterfront Park, but not part of that project,” he said after the commission meeting on Monday, July 18.

He also said this fountain would be different from a splash pad, a feature that could be included in Phase 2 of the Waterfront Park project.

“With the interactive fountain, people don’t jump into it,” Steingold said after the meeting.

Amid the flurry of opinions and questions, which include concerns about the cost, liability and maintenance of the feature, we reached out to Mayor Steingold for comment, and he said any questions regarding his proposal could be discussed at an upcoming work session.

“I believe that we will be having a work session in September or October to prioritize our capital improvement projects, during which the interactive fountain may come back up,” the mayor said via email.

A screenshot of the interactive fountains at Curtis Hixon Park. Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold has based his idea for such a fountain in town on this design.
A screenshot of the interactive fountains at Curtis Hixon Park. Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold has based his idea for such a fountain in town on this design.

“With regard to liability issues, it’s no different than someone getting injured on playground equipment,” he continued. “Injured parties typically will look to the sovereignty with regard to liability for injuries related to bus bench, water fountain, playground equipment, baseball fields, etc…”

As to the questions about the costs of building and maintaining the feature, Steingold said those figures have not been determined yet, but he noted costs could be comparable to the interactive fountain at Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park.

According to a report, three interactive fountains were installed as part of a $15 million renovation of the city’s riverfront park in 2009, and they were funded by a $1 million donation from a local philanthropist.

Recently, $2.1 million in maintenance repairs had to be conducted on the entire park, which included a “major pump failure” for the Louver Fountains, according to a Tampa Bay Times piece from last August.

Stay with Safety Harbor Connect for updates on the interactive fountain, including any workshops scheduled to discuss the topic.

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  1. We need the fountain!
    Kids, families, grandparents would just love it.
    It is expensive but worth the costs.
    Great entertainment to families and would bring value to our city.
    We just need it.

  2. I think it is a great idea! As Safety Harbor residents, our family spent last weekend in Tampa cooling off in Curtis Hixon Park’s fountains along with tourists, runners, bicyclists and other families.

  3. Gee, is that deja vu knocking at the door? This is exactly what I and some others suggested when they built the fountain the first time. The thought was that it could be used as additional open space when the water was shut off, but then interactive at other times. It was a good idea then and it is a good idea now. As anyone familiar with the Clearwater Beach roundabout can tell you, redoing public projects a second time is far from unprecedented. The only concern this time around would be whether any of those little Pokemon creatures might be water soluble. I would hate to see the marina returned to its pre-
    Pokemon accessibility, when you could just stroll down there and enjoy the evening sea breeze and birds working the shoreline.

  4. So how does this high tech fountain idea go with Mayor Andy’s quaint idea of Safety Harbor? So who will be able to go and use it, the few people that live near by and the people staying at the hotel? There is not enough parking for what we have now. How about some more parking for those of us that want to use the boat ramp, the pier and the park as it is? Guess they have found some free money and need to waste, I mean spend it. Similar to the waste of money on the fantastic signs/lights at CR611. Not to mention the waste of a water recourse, fountains are terrible. Unlike the fountain already there, this one will have to have treated water like a pool if people will be running through it and pets using it. How about if they have too much money, just give it back to the land owning, tax paying, citizens of Safety Harbor!

  5. I didn’t know we were voting through SHC but put me with the negatives. As for alternatives from the “negative attitude folks” why are any required? The function of government is to solve problems and meet the needs of ALL citizens that the private sector can’t-not to spend limited tax money on the unnecessary whims that strike the fancy of the current political in crowd. In essence this is an all wet solution in search of a non existent problem.

    • Ah. By your reasoning the Marina park, the bike trail, even the big oak tree are all unnecessary whims built only to strike someone else’s fancy. Building features that bring people to our city that may not, at first glance be profitable, is a function of government. Good luck finding a private entity to take over that Marina or bike trail for profit. But without them SH wouldn’t be SH. But then I’m sure there is a political faction trying to be the “in crowd” who would love to see an Outback Steakhouse on the Safety Harbor waterfront.

  6. Treat the Steingold Fountain as a new business.The research would include “is there enough parking.” Main Street merchants would be losers as they are today because Pokemon players take prime parking spots and head to the marina with out spending…tiring up spaces for hours…..let’s hear from the merchants

  7. I don’t know about two to one in favor. Reading the comments from last week it seems like a four to one count in favor of the project. If the goal is to make SH more attractive to visitors and create recreational opportunities for residents then this seems like a great plan. At least it’s worthy of serious discussion. I can’t wait to hear the alternative ideas from the negative attitude folks.

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