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Fate of 'Frannie's Fountain' in hands of Joliet committee

Karen Sorensen | 4/30/2015, 7:43 p.m.
The city has earmarked $150,000 in this year's budget to either repair the now-gravel-filled display or come up with a ...
When Frannie's Fountain in Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park stopped working in 2014, the city had no money to repair it and was forced to fill it with gravel. Times Weekly file photo

Frannie's Fountain, built in Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park in 2000, was dedicated to the wife of the late Mayor Art Schultz, who came up with the idea to build it.

Frannie's Fountain, built in Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park in 2000, was dedicated to the wife of the late Mayor Art Schultz, who came up with the idea to build it.

The plaque providing the history of "Frannie's Fountain" remains despite the fact that the water display has been shut down.

Times Weekly file photo

The plaque providing the history of "Frannie's Fountain" remains despite the fact that the water display has been shut down.

The fate of Frannie's Fountain now rests in the hands of a Joliet committee, which has $150,000 at their disposal to either have the Bicentennial Park water feature repaired or choose something else to erect in its place.

Among the committee members is Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots, daughter of "Frannie" -- aka Frances Jacksa Schultz, wife of former Joliet Mayor Art Schultz.

The late mayor dedicated the fountain to his wife in 2000, and a plaque that remains on the now-gravel-filled display credits Fran Schultz with coming up with the idea for a fountain that would be visible not only in the park but from Jefferson Street and the Des Plaines River.

The city was forced to fill in the display in 2014 when it had no money with which to repair it.

"That wasn't nice," Fran Schultz said Thursday. "It was something I wanted my great-grandchildren to see and enjoy."

With the Joliet City Council's blessing, money was included in the 2015 budget with the idea a committee would be designated to review all of the options and come up with a suggestion on what should be done.

The committee will hold its first meeting on May 11, and in addition to Schultz Voots, it will also include At-large Councilman Mike Turk; Neighborhood Services Director Alfredo Melesio; Candace Johnson-Wheeler, co-president of the St. John's Neighborhood Association; and a representative from Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park, Joliet City Manager Jim Hock said.

At their first gathering, they'll review the history of the fountain and discuss the pros and cons of repairing and maintaining water displays, with the help of someone from the Joliet Park District, which has several fountains, Hock said.

It's possible the group will decide that repairing the existing fountain does not make financial sense, he said. With $150,000 at their disposal, they could end up recommending the city have a new fountain built or a different type of feature, such as a statue, take its place, he said.

Whatever the committee's decision, the Joliet City Council will have final say.

Fran Schultz said she knows here daughter will keep her appraised of the committee's discussions, even if the ultimate call is to have it replaced.

"I would like it to stay the same," she said. "It was beautiful. But I'm just happy they're doing something."

Contact Karen Sorensen at Karen@TheTimesWeekly.com.