WUFT News

Thomas Center Applies For Grant To Restore Historic Fountain

By on November 19th, 2014

The Historic Thomas Center is a significant cultural site purchased by the City of Gainesville in 1973. One of its main icons is a fountain said to date back to the period between 1928 and 1968, a time when the Center functioned as a hotel — some experts believe it was constructed when soldiers returned home after World War II.

Erica Chatman, the facilities director at the Thomas Center, said, “Practically everyone in the community has been here at some point to take a picture in front of the fountain,  and there are a lot of people who are emotionally really attached to the  fountain and the grounds in general.”

Because of years of deterioration, though, the City of Gainesville’s Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs department, has applied for a $50,000-grant from the Division of Historical Resources Bureau of Historic Preservation to restore the fountain. The Thomas Center also had to match 25 percent of the funds in its own budget to be considered eligible by the Florida Department of State.

The fountain in the garden of the Historic Thomas Center is in need of repair. The Center has applied for a $75,000-grant to make the necessary improvements.

Paris Tyburski / WUFT News

The fountain in the garden of the Historic Thomas Center is in need of repair. The Center has applied for a $75,000-grant to make the necessary improvements.

Cracks around the bowl at the base of the fountain are causing leaks, which damage the ground, and four faces that should shoot water out of their mouths have been shut off — the damage from the cracks cause the water to shoot from all directions.

“If the grant is approved,” Chatman said, “it will allow us, on the interior, to rework all of the actual mechanical parts and the mechanisms that make the fountain run with modern-day parts to make it more efficient.”

Gainesville City Commissioner Randy Wells submitted a letter of recommendation toward the grant. “The fountain is one element of a much larger garden and a beautiful building,” Wells said. “I think it is very important to keep historic sites like this one restored.”

The grant would provide all of the money needed to repair the fountain. The state will be reviewing the grant application during the second week in December. Until a decision is made, the fountain will still be actively running.

Editor’s note: This update corrects and earlier version that stated the Thomas Center applied for a $75,000-grant from the Division of Historical Resources Bureau of Historic Preservation


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

The Preservation Jazz Band takes the stage at the frank street fair Thursday evening on Feb. 26. The band is from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jazz Band, Street Fair Draw Crowd To Downtown Gainesville For Frank Conference

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed on Bo Diddley Community Plaza on Thursday as part of a street fair. The fair was part of day three of the 2015 frank conference.


Construction workers from Superior Construction Company Southeast work on replacing the culvert underneath the Oakleaf overpass in Clay County on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

Oakleaf Overpass Closed During Culvert Construction

A deteriorated culvert failed inspection last month, closing the Overleaf overpass over State Road 23 until a new culvert is built. The construction has caused traffic issues and added to commute times.


Mishler rides Chief Free Spirit, and Cherry follows behind. Cherry, 7, is Chief Free Spirit’s daughter. Chloe Stradinger/ WUFT

Evangelical Cowboy Rides Through Gainesville As Part Of Larger Journey

Doc Mishler rides around the country on horseback preaching his Christian beliefs. He travels about 20 miles per day and rode through Gainesville on Monday.


Mike Myers, 68, illustrates how he created a notepad from an orange juice container. Myers said that the Repurpose Project is the culmination of his dream.

Repurpose Project Finds Success in New Location

After moving to its new location next to Satchel’s Pizza, The Repurpose Project has more than quadrupled in size and substance. The owners plan to expand with the additional space, adding a garden, play area for kids and an event area.


A herd of American bison gather on Dixie Sportsman’s Hunting Preserve February
21. The 320-acre preserve is currently for sale.

Future Uncertain For 320-Acre Dixie County Hunting Preserve

A wildlife preserve in Dixie County used for hunting is for sale. The current owner said he will not require the buyer to continue in the hunting business.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments