Restoring a landmark

Madison city officials hire Cincinnati firm
to restore Broadway Fountain

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

MADISON, Ind.(May 2004) – The Broadway Fountain, one of Madison, Ind.,’s most endearing landmarks, will soon get the professional attention it needs. The City of Madison Parks Department has commissioned Karkadoulias Bronze Art, the Cincinnati-based company that recast the fountain in bronze in the late 1970s, to remove all grime, pollutants, incrustation and foreign material that have accumulated on the fountain over the years and to make necessary repairs.

Broadway Fountain

Photo by Ruth Wright

Mercene Karkadoulias (center) talks with
Harold Lakeman (left) and Hank Bentz.

Not since the fountain was recast has it had any kind of professional cleaning or repair, according to Dave Munier, parks department superintendent. The department is responsible for routine maintenance of the fountain but does not have the equipment, materials or know-how to do what now needs to be done, he said. Karkadoulias Bronze Art was chosen to do the work because of its expertise and past experience with the fountain.
Mercene Karkadoulias, whose late husband, Eleftherios, recast the fountain nearly 25 years ago, visited Madison on April 22 with fountain restoration expert Mark Sedecca.
“It certainly is in deplorable condition,” said Karkadoulias after inspecting the fountain. “This should have had maintenance throughout the years.”
In addition to wear and tear that have resulted from the fountain’s outside location, mineral deposits from the hard water that circulates through the fountain have been damaging, according to Karkadoulias. She said a water softener will likely be needed to prevent re-occurrence.
Karkadoulias originally estimated that to get the fountain back in shape would cost $79,885, which would include application of a protective coating formulated by her company. That figure may be revised, however, due to the fountain’s condition and the fact that a water softening system will likely be installed.

Broadway Fountain-

Photo by Ruth Wright

Restoration expert
Mark Sedecca of Cincinnati inspects the fountain.

The parks department has agreed to pay Karkadoulias for the work in installments, the first $25,000 of which will be paid this year. Of that amount, $10,000 has been provided by River Valley Financial Bank. The balance will be split evenly and paid over the next two years or as funds become available. Plans are to establish an ongoing maintenance program to avoid in the future this level of deterioration and the resulting expense, according to Munier.
Following her visit to Madison, Karkadoulias told Munier that, due to the weather in May, she will wait until June to begin work. She could not say how long the project will take but said it will be worked in among other projects the company is currently overseeing. “Even if I did this continuously it would take a long time. It won’t be done overnight,” she said.
Most of the work will need to be done by hand, which will likely extend the amount of time needed, Karkadoulias added.
No immediate fundraising for the fountain project is planned, but it is possible according to Munier, that once area residents see that the fountain is being repaired they will want to help.
Madisonians have rallied behind the fountain more than once in past years, including in 1976 when its future looked bleak. Then, the originally cast iron fountain that was first dedicated on Sept. 28, 1886, had deteriorated to the point of near collapse. Not willing to lose the fountain, area residents raised more than $100,000 to have the it dismantled and taken to Cincinnati, where it was completely recast in bronze. It was rededicated in a ceremony on Aug. 9, 1980.

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