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Community celebrates Olcott Park fountain

VIRGINIA, MN– After years of sitting unused, a piece of history in Virginia has come back to life.

On Thursday night, stories filled the air at Olcott Park.

“We’d stop at the Tasty Freeze right down here on 9th avenue, which I’m glad is open again and get a tasty freeze and then we would drive right here to the Olcott Park,” said Virginia Mayor, Larry Cuffe Jr.

“Watching the colored lights of the fountain. It was the thing to do,” said Ronda Rudy Harvey with the Virginia Community Foundation.

“I’ve said it’s like a Disney World to me because it was so magical,” said organizer Kathy Merkel.

About the memories made at the Olcott Park water fountain.

“A valued community asset that has been enjoyed by generations,” said Brian Silber with Virginia Parks and Recreation.

Built back in 1937, its water flowed for the last time in 2013.

“We had a lot of problems with the pool leaking. The mechanism was 1937 technology, the best they had back then, but after 80 years it started to fail,” said Greg Gilness with the Olcott Park Foundation restoration committee.

But now, after four years of hard work,

“The fountain is working and is doing what it was intended to do back in 1937, and everything is set to go,” said Gilness.

With a $1,000,000 price to make the fountain a reality again, donations poured in from not only organizations like the IRRRB, but also the community.

“Members of the community coming together, giving their time and their talents, and giving out of their own pocketbook to make Virginia a better community, and increase the livability of Virginia for everyone,” said Silber.

But officials still aren’t finished restoring the Virginia landmark, they’re hoping to raise an additional $50,000.

“There is still money to raise for landscaping and benches and things like that. So, we’re not done yet. This is just the greatest part, we get to see it spray,” said Harvey.

Until then, they’ll celebrate the progress like they used to.

“Throughout this process, I’d like you guys to take your quarters out and let’s fill the fountain the way we used to.”

Bringing life back into the community.

“Seeing all the people here today is phenomenal. It’s so exciting! It’s my Disney World coming back again,” said Merkel.

The celebration ended with live music, and a chance for the community to see the fountain with colorful lights.

CeCe Gaines

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