Fundraising for historic Canton fountain surpasses $100,000

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CANTON — After more than a year of fundraising, more than $104,000 has been contributed to repair the historic fountain in the Canton Village Park.

Structural repairs, including piping and plumbing work, are needed to prevent leakage problems that have plagued the fountain. The concrete at the base of the fountain is cracked and many of the surrounding paving stones need to be replaced.

The Rev. Michael P. Catanzaro, chair of the fundraising committee, said he is hopeful that the $104,000 will cover the cost of the repairs. The goal is to have the structure restored by Dairy Princess weekend, June 1 and 2.

“We have to get a contractor to do the work for what we think is a reasonable amount,” Mr. Catanzaro said. “Once we do that, they could start as soon as the freeze is out of the ground.”

Support for the fountain project has come in large and small donations, from Canton residents and local organizations to people living far away who feel a connection with the landmark.

“Just about every gift has a touching story to it,” Mr. Catanzaro said.

He said several donations have been received from former residents who remember being in the park as children or spending time there with their children and grandchildren.

The fountain and park are owned by The First Presbyterian Church where Mr. Catanzaro serves as pastor. The village will oversee the repair work.

Paul Mitchell, a community member who has been assisting with fundraising, spoke about the fountain project during Thursday night’s annual chamber dinner.

He credited the Sweetgrass Foundation for providing the Canton Park and Fountain Fund with a $20,000 matching grant that helped spur additional donations. The Canton Veterans of Foreign Wars and Canton Community Fund provided funds to match the grant.

“We applaud these organizations for what they do for our community, this time for our beloved fountain. But our fundraising would not have been so successful without the support from the local people who all expressed their admiration of the village park and its fountain through a monetary gift,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Mr. Catanzaro emphasized that more funds are still needed to pay for other aspects of the overall project, including tree work and repaving or restoning the entire walkway.

“We’re at a wonderful point, but we can’t get complacent,” he said. “We’re hoping that everyone who cares about the fountain as a symbol will do something within their means to support it.”

All contributions to the fountain project are tax-deductible and a statement of giving is subsequently provided. Checks should be made payable to the Canton Park and Fountain. They can be mailed to The First Presbyterian Church, 17 Park St., Canton, N.Y. 13617.

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