The Scott Fountain on Belle Isle is in line for a makeover.
Officials on Tuesday announced that $400,000 of the money raised at the Grand Prixmere charity gala this year will be used to maintain and improve the 93-year-old fountain.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s repair list is lengthy. Crews plan to fix the marble on the fountain stairs, leaks and broken pipes, paint the main fountain bowl and replace damaged lighting, among other repairs.
The Prixmere itself raised more than $1 million for the Belle Isle Conservancy, and the Detroit Grand Prix provides a significant amount of the park’s budget annually in a fee.
Scott Fountain, named after controversial Detroit socialite James Scott, was completed in 1925 at an estimated cost of $500,000.
Work will begin this fall, but the needs are ongoing. The Belle Isle Conservancy also announced a text-to-donate campaign that allows anyone to contribute the Scott Fountain improvements by texting “fountain” to 313-349-2933.
As we’re previously reported, Belle Isle is severely underfunded for a park of its size. Although it is seeing some increased funding and physical improvements under state control, it does not have a sizable separate endowment or diverse funding sources like other jewel parks in other cities.
New York City’s Central Park is of similar size and has an annual budget north of $65 million. Three-quarters of the Central Park budget is contributed by private and non-governmental funding sources.
Belle Isle’s annual budget? Just $2.5 million a year, plus $1 million for capital improvements. That’s about 5% of what is spent on Central Park.