Daily photos by Emily Saunders|
Cotaco Park’s pond at Morgan County Courthouse used to flow with small waterfalls and running water.
Water or flowers at courthouse?
Commission considers how best to fix drained reflecting pool
By Sheryl Marsh
Morgan County Commission Chairman John Glasscock says if the cracked reflecting pond at the courthouse cannot be fixed, he will consider filling it with dirt and making a flowerbed.
The commission majority wants to return the pond to its original state — peaceful waters. They believe that can be done without too much cost. And the experience of Jeff Dunlap, director of Decatur Parks and Recreation, suggests the commissioners may be correct. He said the ponds that his department maintains are low maintenance.
A waterfall at the Old State Bank has been there for years without problems.
“If we’ve ever had anything wrong, it’s been minor,” Dunlap said. “It has an automatic sealer, and we’ve never been alarmed by any water bills from it.”
County Maintenance Supervisor Wayne Lindley said the reflecting pond on the north side of the courthouse has been dry for more than three years because it is cracked and leaks. Lindley said in cold weather the leaky pond damaged courthouse sidewalks because the water froze on the pavement. Lindley said a pond company’s employees looked at the reflecting pond Thursday.
“I called a local pond company to see if they can do it,” said Glasscock. “If they can’t, we’ll go on to something else.”
He shared his optional plan.
“I had a councilman suggest that if we can’t stop the leaks, maybe we should fill it up with dirt and make a flowerbed,” the chairman said. “We would make it very appropriate. That idea was suggested to me in the last few days. I don’t know if that’s feasible, but we’re not going to forget it. We’re going to do something.”
District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark, District 3 Commissioner Kevin Murphy and District 4 Commissioner Stacy George said they would rather repair the pond. District 2 Commissioner Ken Livingston was not available for comment.
“I would rather see it fixed back the way it was built,” said Clark, who represents Decatur and is chairman pro tem. “I don’t think it would be too costly to fix it. I hope he has the estimate by next Tuesday when we meet. We haven’t discussed it as a group yet.”
The Old State Bank water fountain has been running smoothly for years. “If we’ve ever had anything wrong, it’s been minor,” said Jeff Dunlap, director of Decatur Parks and Recreation. “It has an automatic sealer, and we’ve never been alarmed by any water bills from it.”
Murphy said, “The cost would have to be extremely high before I would consider filling it in.”
George said he wouldn’t consider a flowerbed.
“Absolutely not,” George said. “There’s been donations made to this project, and I would like to honor those and what former commissioners put in place.”
Dunlap said a pond company could probably tell county maintenance workers how to repair it.
“My feeling is that they could find out what to use and do it themselves. There are certain types of sealers and finishes that you can put over the pond and it would seal it. We do a lot of our stuff ourselves, like the kiddie pond at Point Mallard. Anything out of our range like the wave or Olympic ponds, we contract out.”
The courthouse pond also has a wall that displays names of war veterans. The chief officer of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4190 said the commission should repair the pond.
“I would like it returned to the state that it should be in, said Post Commander Tom Pyeatt. “It’s a part of the veterans. Every Veterans Day it is featured in our ceremony at the courthouse. I don’t see it being turned into a flowerbed, not that flowers are bad. But that’s not what it was intended to be. The veterans are the ones who made sure these people can do the things they’re doing whether they’re Republican or Democrat.”
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