HELENA – Helena city officials are moving forward with the Equity Fountain Project and hope to have it installed by July 2019.
Commissioners accepted the donation of the fountain from the Equity Fountain Project Committee during a Monday meeting. Committee chair Ron Waterman told MTN they will now form a final contract with the artist they chose for the fountain.
He said James Dinh is a well-recognized public art artist from California, who will soon travel to Helena to evaluate the site. The new fountain will replace the Confederate Memorial Fountain, which was removed in August 2017.
Waterman said he hopes the chosen “Sphere of Interconnectedness” design sends a message to the future about core values like equity, diversity and tolerance.
“Helena has been very very special to me,” said Waterman. “I’d like to have a gift that would go back to Helena, from the citizens and going forward because I found those core values were the values I saw in everyday citizens and the people of Helena.”
The committee is still raising money for the Equity Fountain and its maintenance.
Waterman said they still need about $40,000 to reach their $110,000 goal and donations mat by made through the Montana Community Foundation, care of Equity Fountain.
City commissioners also approved parking upgrades for downtown Helena.
The new parking equipment will include 60 parking kiosks and smart meters. People visiting downtown will be able to pay by coin, credit or debit card, or using an app on their phones.
The total cost of the equipment is around $500,000 with annual operating costs around $58,000.
-Evelyn Schultz reporting for MTN News