Elyria solicits donations for $900,000 fountain with budget shortfall looming

Posted at 5:05 PM, Aug 02, 2017

The city of Elyria is asking for donations from residents and local businesses to build a new fountain in Ely Square in honor of the city's bicentennial.

The current fountain has not been touched since the 1970's, according to Mayor Holly Brinda who is spearheading fundraising.

"We are soliciting donations for the project," Mayor Brinda said.

Not every taxpayer in the city agrees with the current plan to replace the fountain when Elyria has admittedly struggled with money for years. The city has cut programs and departments and dealt with an ever-shrinking general fund.

"It just makes no sense. You have other pressing needs in this town. Even if it is donated! That money could be put to better use, than a fountain," said Dale Davies, who has been living in Elyria for 55 years.

Davies said he's watched businesses move out and the offers dip.

"A fountain is not gonna bring any business here," he said.

Elyria's finance director, Ted Pileski, says a fountain wouldn't be possible without taking donations, because of where the city of Elyria stands.

"We are trying to find every corner to cut and every expense to cut to make ends meet," he explained.

The fountain the city plans to build, after taking feedback from residents, costs an estimated $900,000.

"Why spend $900,000 on a fountain now when you're looking at taking two million out of your budget?" News 5 asked Pileski.

"Well you still have to make your city look beautiful and draw in residents and employers," Pileski said.

Mayor Brinda agreed, explaining that this project is what residents want and it's going to happen through those donations. However, both Brinda and Pileski say the city will make changes to the current plans if they don't raise enough money.

"We're not spending city money on the fountain," Brinda said. "These are citizens who've requested this project."