05/24/11 — Lady in the Park back at city park

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Lady in the Park back at city park

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on May 24, 2011 1:46 PM

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The Lady in the Park statue is back in Herman Park.

John Albert grasped the railing at Herman Park's fountain, leaned forward and peered at the statue known affectionately as "The Lady in the Park."

The Parks and Recreation superintendent sounded like a proud father as he talked about plans for the statue, the crown jewel of the park, which has been returned to its pedestal after spending eight months being refurbished.

Albert finds it difficult to hide his excitement as he talks about plans for the fountain.

"I'm really excited about this fountain," Albert said.

The next step in the city's efforts to revamp the park centerpiece will be to repaint the basin and railings around the lady. Albert said the city plans to begin pumping water back into the pond around it beginning next week through a new, more energy efficient pump.

"It's a submersible pump that makes it more efficient," he said, noting that the ground water pumped up through a well would only be needed to fill the pond, while a smaller pump in the pond would be relied on to move the water through the fountain, moving 4,000 gallons each hour.

That also means the return of what used to be a fixture of the fountain -- fish. Albert said fish would be re-introduced sometime next month.

Homemade filters will remove foreign objects from the water supply and, because of the pump change, the pond will be easier to maintain, he said. Waste will be neutralized by bacteria and Albert said he will be able to monitor the pH of the water like a large aquarium now that ground water won't be used.

Objects falling into the basin will still create issues for the fish and care of the fountain, Albert said, and visitors are encouraged not to feed them, but the improvements made to the fountain's infrastructure will allow maintenance workers more options for care and troubleshooting should those problems arise.

"A lot of effort went into repairing it," he said of the basin, noting that there shouldn't be a need for more extensive renovations for at least four or five years. Holes and cracks were repaired, excess wax was removed and it was refinished at a total cost of $6,600.

Solomon and Henry Weil donated the bronze statue to the city in 1916 in memory of their brother, Herman, for whom the park is named.

It is a copy of a statue of Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth, by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen.

The statue that stands in the park is a replica. The original is kept in the Wayne County Museum.

Funds to replicate the statue in 2003 and to restore the duplicate this past year were all raised through private donations.