By Edward Gately for The Arizona Republic
The Avenue of the Fountains, a prominent destination for events and businesses in downtown Fountain Hills, could be undergoing a major face-lift if the Town Council decides the time is right.
The avenue and medians, west of Saguaro Boulevard and the town’s namesake fountain, now includes leaky fountains, dying trees, limited pedestrian accessibility and an outdated electrical system and inefficient irrigation system. It was built in the mid-1970s.
“We ran some numbers on the fountains, and we’re estimating that the existing fountains are losing about 250,000 gallons of water a year combined,” said Paul Mood, the town’s development-services director.
At its Oct. 4 meeting, the council will consider a design contract and options for funding improvements to the medians. The town’s 2012-13 budget includes $1.8 million for design and construction of the medians, with $1 million from the downtown excise-tax fund and $800,000 from the capital-projects fund.
Town staff has presented three concepts for improving the avenue. The least-expensive concept involves renovating what’s already there, while the more expensive concepts include new features.
Concept B, which would cost about $1.8 million, received the most support at a recent open house, but everyone understands the town’s financial constraints, Mood said.
If approved, construction would take place next year during the time between the two fairs, Mood said.
The town is considering a road bond issue for November 2013 to fund repairs to Saguaro and other streets, and the $800,000 from the capital-projects fund could reduce the bond amount, he said.
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Concept A – The remediation concept
Design and construction: $1.2M
Involves reconstructing the fountains, removing trees, and adding new trees and plants, adding new irrigation and electrical systems, and bringing the sidewalk and ramps into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Concept B – The revitalization concept
Design and construction: $1.8M
Involves the same infrastructure improvements as the remediation concept, as well as upgraded fountains; public-art spaces; a wider, concrete pathway; centralized pump and electrical enclosures on each median; a new west median plaza; upgraded east median plaza; seating tables; drinking fountains; and conduits for future area lighting.
Concept C – The complete concept
Design and construction: $2.45M
All features contained in Concept B, along with low-level and accent lighting, shade canopies on the east and west median plazas, on-street parking with tree islands and an asphalt design at the Verde River Drive intersection.