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Council Decides not to Build $400K Water Wall in New City Hall

At last night’s meeting, the City Council decided not to build a $400,000 water wall at the new City Hall plaza.

Design Collective, the architects of the City Hall project, made a presentation about possible design elements to active the City Hall plaza.

Last month, the City Council decided to include a water wall/feature at the plaza as a possible option. This decision allowed the City Hall design team to get necessary permits to put infrastructures for the water feature, should the Council decides to add the water feature at a later time.

At last night’s meeting, a representative from the Design Collective told the Council that the water wall (option 1) would cost $400,000 – which is about $165,000 more than the original estimate they gave us last month. Last month’s estimate was $235,385

The Design Collective recommended the water wall over the Pop Jet/Water Scrim (4 variations) feature.  There are differences in pattern placements, movements, and lighting. Last month, the estimated cost range of these options is between $580,000 and $685,000. The City and the University would have shared the cost among them as part of the plaza development.

Some of my colleagues at the Council had raised concerns about public urination and vandalism at the water feature.

There were also concerns about the frequent maintenance of the water pump and other equipment. For example, the water feature at the Silver Spring plaza had to be replaced due to frequent fountain pumps failure frequently

Personally, though a water wall is an attractive feature, it’s not interactive. Most importantly, a fountain does not represent the unique characteristics of College Park. I was hoping a public art featuring our gorgeous neighborhoods, beautiful trails, the oldest operating airport, lake artemisia, and the talents within State’s flagship University would have been a better choice. I think that could still be a possibility in the future.

The vote was 3-4. Councilmembers Kennedy, Rigg and Day voted yes, whereas Kabir, Brennan, Kujawa, and Dennis voted no.

The current City Hall’s construction cost is estimated at $18.9 million. The City plans to borrow $12.7 million to support the construction budge

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