JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A city landmark is about to get another makeover. And this time, you may not recognize Friendship Fountain on Jacksonville's Southbank.
A developer has just about finished the design work that calls for a major million-dollar upgrade of the fountain and surrounding park. The fountain would have a different spray pattern and pictures projecting onto it.
For decades, Friendship Fountain has been an iconic spot in Jacksonville. But even after spending millions in 2011 for a major renovation, the fountain is still a puddle of its former self and is not working properly.
"I just remember the water being super big and the lights being super nice. Everybody was out here," visitor Alexis Richards said. "It was just an area for people to meet up, and now it’s like desolate. Nobody (is) here."
That’s about to change this spring, when the city is going to begin construction to turn the fountain into a miniature version of what we see in Las Vegas' Fountains of Bellagio -- dancing waters and images that shift during a colored-light show set to music.
News4Jax talked with Lori Boyer, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, about the project and asked if it's really going to happen.
"I think so. I’m pretty confident that we are far enough along. It is funded. The design is nearly complete, and they are planning to start construction in just a few months," Boyer said Tuesday. "So I think in a year or year and a half from now you’ll actually be able to see it."
The City Council approved this in the last budget, so more than $1.2 million will be spent this year and more the following year to turn Friendship Fountain and the surrounding park, which would undergo major changes with a ship replica and new restrooms, into a destination point.