The historic Seven Pools Fountain at Thomas Lowry Park will be replaced and restored after park commissioners approved a nearly $1 million project years in the making with contributions from several local groups.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted Nov. 18 to approve a construction contract to restore the nearly 100-year-old fountain in the middle of Lowry Hill. The project received substantial funding from the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association and a nonprofit supporting the park.
The fountain is a unique feature in Minneapolis parks. Built in 1925 and dubbed a “gem” by prominent park leader Theodore Wirth, the fountain has fallen into disrepair over the years and, like most pools, is difficult to maintain.
“It’s basically falling apart,” MPRB assistant superintendent Michael Schroeder said.
Given Thomas Lowry Park’s ranking on the MPRB’s equity matrix, which prioritizes repair and improvement projects based on area income and diversity, a repair funded solely by the Park Board was likely years away. But the pool has long been valued by locals, and in February 2019 the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association voted to put about $300,000 toward restoring the fountain.
Friends of Thomas Lowry Park, a local nonprofit organization, raised about $125,000 for the project. The group also paid for a structural analysis of the fountain and has raised more money to support other improvements in the park. The Park Board and the nonprofit entered a fundraising agreement that allowed the group to gather dollars for the project.
“This has been an amazing collaborative effort from the community,” Commissioner Meg Forney said.
Construction is expected to begin in spring 2021.