UPDATE: The fountain is fixed! It has new faucets see photo below) , and the pavement doesn't look to have been disturbed. Developing... – Ed.
Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – Everyone knows that Arcata's elected leaders mostly spend their time in their posh City Hall offices lounging on overstuffed satin pillows, savoring canapés and lighting cigars with taxpayer dollars. But there are exceptions.
Lean, sinewy City Councilmember Paul Pitino and brawny, can-do Action Mayor Brett Watson spent their Sunday morning removing the muck and mire of the ages from the Plaza’s least-famous fixture, the Temperance League Fountain.
Installed in 1912 by the Arcata Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the “bubbler” was intended to give Arcata menfolk a quenching alternative to the town’s taverns, where all too many drank away their paychecks. This on the totally solid theory that simple thirst, the primal need for rehydration, was driving their bar patronage, not a yearning to get hammered after busting their ass all day.
The fountain doesn’t work at the moment, so the next step is repairing its pipes. That will cost about $9,000, because it requires getting to the plumbing beneath the concrete Plaza sidewalk. There, the feed and drain lines share a common space, and must be replaced, then the sidewalk repaved.
Since there's already an ADA-compliant fountain at the Plaza's center, there's no legally-based rush to repair the long-defunct bubbler. But the mayor's behind it, so probably something will happen.
"Hopefully soon there'll be a couple more places to get a drink of water on the Plaza," said Watson with characteristic eloquence.