At Thursday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectman Fred Camillo suggested the triangular park outside the former US Post office on Greenwich Avenue was the ideal place for an illuminated fountain.
“I just want people to know that the front of RH, the old post office, there is a water fountain that hasn’t been used for a long time and I always thought it would be a beautiful place for a lit up fountain,” Camillo said.
The First Selectman’s idea is to light up both the war memorial obelisk and the flagpole, and add illuminated water features.
“It’s not a cheap project,” Camillo said. “It will cost money but there seems to be significant interest. It’s something that could really enhance what is an area that has a lot of meaning in town. It’s beautiful now, but just think of what it could be if we focus on it, so we are working hard on that.”
Camillo said he had visited the area with Parks & Rec director Joe Sicilaino and met separately with a landscape architect.
Hinting at a new public-private partnership, a pillar of his re-election campaign, Camillo said he had met with someone interested in “transforming the whole area.”
The triangle shaped property was purchased and donated to the town by the Havemeyer family.
The defunct drinking fountain was a gift from the Woman’s Club of Greenwich.
According to a 1921 article in Scarsdale Inquirer, the “modern sanitary thirst-quencher,” with its graceful pedestal, was designed by George Wharton Edwards and Joseph Howland Hunt of Greenwich.
Camillo said that the triangle containing the war memorial obelisk was Town property that extended to about 10 or 15 ft from the front of RH.
The flagpole, which is original to the post office, previously sat atop the building. Today it is on RH property and light from the building illuminates it at night.
At the July 8 P&Z meeting, there was a discussion about the landscaping and lighting of the fields at at Western Middle School, including consideration of plans for the school’s flagpole.
Consultants from Langan said the state of Connecticut required flag poles to be illuminated at night and that three fixtures per flag was typical. The fixtures are exempt from LED calculations. Typically they are on a timer to go on at dusk and off at sunrise.
Dark Skies Initiative
The idea of illuminated water features at the intersection of Greenwich Ave and Arch Street might not reconcile with a dark skies initiative.
At the May 11 Selectmen meeting Selectwoman McGuigan, who co-chairs the Sustainability Committee, noted that May 13 was World Migratory Bird Day and that turning off or dimming outside lighting helps birds and night pollinator populations thrive. She said people could learn more from Lights Out Greenwich and that the Greenwich Conservation Commission and Planning & Zoning Commission were actively working on ways for the Town to promote a dark sky initiative.
Camillo said he emailed members of the Sustainability Committee about the illuminated fountain, suggesting solar power.
“I have been working on and researching an idea to bring a beautiful water feature to the old post office on the Ave ( present day Restoration Hardware ) as well as put in landscape lighting to highlight and illuminate the war memorial and American flag,” Camillo said in his email to the committee.
“To that end, I wanted to see if you would be interested in working on this to make it solar powered. It would not only beautify and highlight an area that has so much meaning and beauty, but also could provide an example of sustainable practices.”
Another consideration is that Greenwich Avenue is a historic district, which may come to bear on the proposal. Greenwich Avenue was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.