Arcade fountain removed, stored
by Lenny Roberts
The Arcade Plaza fountain in front of the Nancy Rupp Studio that
has caused so much controversy has been dismantled, and will
be stored at the Ojai Public Works Department until plans can
be finalized to reconstruct it in a new location.
Specialists from Ventura County Concrete began sawing and breaking
the concrete base Wednesday morning, and demolition of the entire
area is expected to conclude sometime today.
Neva Williams, consulting project manager for the city of Ojai,
said saw-cutter Ken Purdy worked with precision to remove the
salvageable pieces for storage as a backhoe broke apart concrete
chunks from the base of the 20-year-old fountain.
"He was really skillful and managed to saw cut the top molding
so that it could be reassembled later. We'll save that and the
stem and the bowl of the interior fountain," Williams said.
Kathy McCann, redevelopment analyst for the project, said that
every effort will be made to comply with requests to rebuild
the fountain on a small plot of grass directly behind the Nancy
Rupp Studio on the Wee Paseo walk-through.
Stuart Rupp, husband of the late Nancy Rupp, gathered hundreds
of signatures which he presented to the city in an effort to
save the fountain that he argued was an inspiration to his wife
and a quiet spot for residents and visitors to congregate.
Williams said that she has been asked by the city to "do
a redesign" of the Wee Paseo area to see if the fountain
can be reconstructed there.
Because the walk through serves as the main artery for most if
not all downtown utilities, the redesign could be tough.
"Another obstacle is that the area needs to be ADA (Americans
with Disabilities Act) compliant with handicap parking space
and a ramp, while leaving enough space to circulate around the
fountain, and right at that point, the sewer is extremely close,"
Williams said. If the obstacles can be cleared, Williams said
the fountain could be reconstructed on that site to coincide
with the project's expected completion date of Nov. 22.
Williams added that she is pleased with the progress of the project
thus far, and appreciates the cooperation of all parties involved.
"It's been a real effort on everyone, merchants included,
but the demolition will be over today, and we can move forward
with this great beautification project," she said.
For a construction schedule or other information concerning the
project, call the office at 640-1728 or visit www.arcade-plaza.info.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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Concrete cutting saw specialist Ken Purdy makes precision cuts
to save most of the Arcade Plaza fountain.