Q & A: Singing Fountain Restoration and Reimagination Project

Your input can help reshape the Singing Fountain for the future.

The Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC) is seeking community input about the Singing Fountain park at the intersection of East Passyunk Avenue, 11th, and Tasker Streets. Read this Q & A with PARC’s executive director Bryan Fenstermaker to learn more about the survey, and submit your response today!
The Singing Fountain is a beloved public space in South Philadelphia, can you tell us about PARC and its role with the fountain?

Bryan Fenstermaker, Executive Director, PARC:

Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC) is a non-profit real estate development/management company and a public space maintenance organization. As a non-profit organization, PARC owns real estate primarily on the East Passyunk Avenue retail corridor.

With the income from these properties, PARC provides supplementary cleaning and public space maintenance and improvement services along East Passyunk Avenue. We are often confused with the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, a partner organization that provides support to businesses and hosts events. Under PARC’s property umbrella is the Singing Fountain, which has become a community gathering space over the last decade and a half.”


What is going on with the Singing Fountain and why is PARC taking it on now?

“First off, the fountain isn’t going anywhere.  As background, PARC spends $20,000 per year on the maintenance and cleaning of the Singing Fountain. As with any public space, the age of the fountain has started to show. Specifically, the marble is cracking and becoming loose, the blue tiles are falling off, the drainage has been ripped up and well, the mermaid and the neighbors deserves better than that.

Current estimates for these repairs range between $30,000 to $50,000. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased need for public spaces. The entire space is 3,000 square feet, but most of that is taken up by the fountain, benches, planters, tree pits, light poles, and bollards, leaving little space for the growing number of people that utilize the space.

We have seen that more community members are using the space spontaneously, and for longer periods of time. Unfortunately, the limited amount of seating can no longer accommodate all those who wish to use the space. Additionally, space restrictions during social distancing have forced regular events to be moved or cancelled. Which led us to this: if we need to develop a plan for repairs, we should ask the community about their likes, dislikes, and dreams for the space. That is where the survey comes into play.”

How has PARC been getting feedback from the community?

“PARC is in our second phase of outreach, the first being presentations to East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association (EPX) and Passyunk Square Civic Association (PSCA) at their general meetings that took place during the first week of October.

The second phase has been the release of the survey to gather general feedback about the space and how the community uses it. The survey is just a few open-ended questions and takes less than 4 minutes. The second phase has included outreach sessions at the fountain itself which has brought in over 200 responses so far. There is a fun question about the mermaid, as she has one of the best views of the Avenue, yet she doesn’t have a name. We are looking for suggestions.

Local businesses have been so generous as to post our flyers that include a QR code and link to the survey. We look forward to as many responses as possible so keep them coming.”

What’s the timeline?

“PARC will continue collecting survey responses through November. The results will be compiled and shared with EPX and PSCA in early December. From there, we will evaluate the best way to improve the space while incorporating the feedback from the community. All of this is to say it is a process and will take time.”

Don’t delay—fill out the survey today!