Funding the fountain at Thomas Lowry Park

Seven Pools Fountain at Thomas Lowry Park
Fundraising efforts are now in full swing to restore the Seven Pools Fountain at Thomas Lowry Park. Photo by Andrew Hazzard

Efforts by neighbors in Lowry Hill to preserve a nearly 100-year-old fountain at Thomas Lowry Park received a boost last month when the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board allowed a nonprofit to officially fundraise for the project.

The Seven Pools Fountain at Thomas Lowry Park is a unique feature in the park system, though not one that’s practical for the MPRB to repair and maintain on its own from a cost perspective.

But residents of Lowry Hill are eager to restore the fountain, which was completed in 1925 and was declared a gem by Theodore Wirth. In February, the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association voted to donate nearly $300,000 to the project.

But that isn’t all the money the restoration will require, which is why the nonprofit Friends of Thomas Lowry Park is also raising funds. A Park Board vote on May 15 created a fundraising agreement with the nonprofit, allowing it to raise dollars in an official capacity.

Elizabeth Shaffer, president of Friends of Thomas Lowry Park, said they want to preserve the historic fountain even if it means significant fundraising because it is a treasured community feature that’s often incorporated into generations of family memories.

So far the Friends of Thomas Lowry Park have raised more than $97,000 for the project. They hope to reach about $350,000, Shaffer said.

The group hired a landscape architect to bid out the project and found that renovating the fountain would cost about $450,000, while replacing it entirely would cost just under $600,000.

“It was a costly pool in 1922, and it’s a costly pool in 2019,” Shaffer said.

Any leftover funds will be applied to further park upgrades or maintenance.

“After 98 years, everything needs repair,” said Barry Lazarus, who helped found the nonprofit Friends of Thomas Lowry Park about 12 years ago.

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