Volunteers; a fountain of giving

 In Letters

Letter to the Editor,

The article in last week’s Echo referred specifically to the sculpture of the dancing children created by Mr. Hicks. It did not get into the details of how the fountain was created, nor was credit given to the community financial support that made it possible. However, without that support and the thousands of volunteer hours dedicated to maintaining the fountain in its entirety, the sculpture may well have been put on a pad without the layered foundation and the beauty of the fountain itself.

The article and Ms. Wente’s very unfair criticism of the Station volunteers may be taken by your readers to suggest that everything they see when it comes to the fountain was donated by Mr. Hicks, which is not either accurate or fair to all involved.

As always, there are two sides to every story and, in this case, there is a lot more to be said. When the Station was first proposed by a small committee of volunteers it was decided to raise the bulk of the costs from private donations and garner additional financial support from Clearview Council. The plans were approved, the funding campaign was a success and the Station was built as a facility to serve community needs. Then, sometime later, the opportunity for the Station to acquire the fountain was presented by Mr. Hicks. I do not know all the details but there was certainly a financial arrangement agreed between the artist and the Station board.

The pedestal and fountain installation involved, in part, a second campaign to fund the cost to the Station. I know as a certainty that community donors, my wife and I being among them, made a significant contribution towards the cost of the fountain and that there were tax benefits attached to receipts issued to all donors, including Mr. Hicks.

There is a record to be set straight. There is no question that Mr. Hicks created a beautiful piece of work. However, it is simply not true, but is widely believed that he donated the entirety of the fountain to the Station. In failing to acknowledge the financial support of the community in the acquisition of the fountain, the Echo does a significant disservice to its readers.

Perhaps the sculpture was not designed to withstand the ravages of rough winter weather and constant pounding by calcium-filled water. Maybe Mr Hicks’s saw it simply as a free-standing sculpture and not one that would be enhanced by a fountain. Maybe the fountain was a mistake. Maybe the water should be turned off until a solution to the obvious problem can be found. I do not know the answer but I am certain of one thing – the volunteers at the Station do their best to preserve and maintain the building and the fountain. Nothing will be gained by undeserved slurs and false accusations of neglect and, if given a chance, the community which financed the fountain and has maintained it for many years will surely work towards finding a solution to a difficult and costly problem.

Rowland Fleming

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