Since the downtown mall restoration project was declared 99.9 percent done, some chairs have appeared on the west end of the mall - but none of the fountains have returned to operation. I am hoping that more chairs will be installed on the east end of the mall soon. I miss the chairs that were next to the carousel outside the Discovery Museum. But, both improved mall furniture and restored fountains were part of this virtually "finished" project.
I photographed all four of the dry fountains on the mall on Saturday June 13, 2007 and I don't think any of these fountains will be spewing water anytime soon. This photo of the fountain at the Central Place still shows no bricks on the fountain base, and I haven't noticed any construction activity at this fountain (or the other fountains) of late. Maybe the 99.9 percent complete statement was a major overstatement at the rededication ceremony for the downtown mall about two weeks ago, but the presence of mall furniture and working fountains is much more important to me than the 0.1 percent of the restoration project the contractors have assigned to it.
I walk the length of the downtown mall several times each week and hope each time that the fountains will finally be working. The original proposal for the mall restoration included additional water features on the mall. So, water features are clearly considered valuable - but the existing fountains' appeal is significantly reduced when they - all four of them - are dry. Perhaps they will be restored to life next time I visit the mall. I hope so. I wonder how many folks living in Charlottesville have never seen the fountains in working order. And some wonder why our ranking of small cities has gone from number 1 to number 17.