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No one seems to know what's going on with the fountain in the patch of downtown park bordered by Ellicott, Washington and North and South Division streets.

The multilevel, geometrical stone fountain -- dry, cracked, and overrun with waist-high weeds and debris -- sits in the middle of a grove of maple and ash trees across from the Buffalo Fire Department and diagonal from Erie Community College's City Campus.

Even though the space is out of their jurisdiction, Dave Bryant and several other Buffalo Place workers tidied up the area Friday afternoon, picking up trash in and around the fountain because no one else does.

"We just get tired of seeing it messed up, so we clean it," Bryant said.

Bryant recalled that the space used to be known as Firemen's Park, and a 1973 dedication plaque for deceased firefighters still sits at the foot of a flagpole on the Ellicott Street side.

In 1996, the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Foundation donated almost $1 million to make the space into Cancer Survivors Park, but the project never became a reality because of artistic differences between Richard Bloch and designers, according to Vangie Rich, administrator of the foundation.

The fountain, which still has floodlights sitting in its basin, hasn't worked for about five years, according to Buffalo Place senior maintenance worker Bob Hastings.

But for some, water is not the point.

"The fountain doesn't have to work, but the weeds need to be pulled," said M&T Bank employee Angi Mosseau, who passes through the area daily.

Bryant suggests that if it costs too much money to fix, then whoever is responsible should fill it with mulch and turn it into a garden.

"They were going to make an attempt several years ago, and then it became the red-headed stepchild that no one likes," Bryant said. "It's a shame."

But no one is really sure who the "they" is.


The office of Joseph N. Giambra, commissioner of public works, parks and streets for the city, said the fountain and surrounding park are property of the state.

But according to the Department of Assessment and Taxation in City Hall's records, the land belongs to the city.

"It's known as a municipal park," said Bruna Michaux, commissioner of assessment and taxation. "It's assessed to the City of Buffalo."

Perhaps it's this confusion that has led to the fountain's decay.


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