Water Feature to Temporarily Close
The Wenzel Family Plaza officially opened on July 11, and a month later, residents are settling in.
Its top use so far has been the water feature, said Mark Davis, Event Coordinator. On warm summer days, any number of kids can be seen cooling off at the water jets, which run for four minutes at a time and can be programmed for variety. Pet owners have even brought their dogs to the fountain, which Davis said isn’t a problem.
The Plaza was put to heavy use almost immediately as the site for activities at Hub City Days in late July, and it regularly hosts fitness, yoga, and musical performances that appeal to young and old. The first yoga class brought in just over sixty people. Due to their close proximity, places like the Chestnut Center for the Arts and Aster Assisted Living have made frequent use of the venue.
Several months into his role, Davis strives to have programming that everyone can enjoy. “I try to have as many family friendly events as possible, and also try to make sure it’s welcoming for everyone,” he said. “I want to make sure people from any kind of background can come to these events.”
Besides music or fitness, the Plaza can be used for picnics, fundraisers, and special causes. His goal is to showcase the diverse potential of the facility while creating a lineup that’s welcoming to everyone.
“I don’t want the plaza to become, ‘it’s only for this kind of crowd,’” said Davis. “If I say no to a certain event, it’s absolutely not because I don’t agree with the message or the group. The only reason why I’d want to not have a certain event is because it would create a negative environment.”
In line with that philosophy, he wants to avoid bringing in any political events or those with potentially divisive topics to keep the Plaza a family friendly community gathering space. “It’s one of those unique challenges,” said Davis.
As the weather becomes colder, snow will bring in new opportunities for programming, with the possibility of a snow sculpting event and eventually an ice skating rink. The rink is not likely to be an option this year because of the many details that would need to be worked out, including maintaining the ice and prepping the water feature against damage.
“We absolutely would love to have ice at the plaza,” said Davis. Other winter activities will be weather dependent.
The water feature will likely stay on until cold weather begins around October, but will shut down for a week in early September so a coating can be applied to seal the surface for the long term and provide extra traction, according to Tom Turchi, City Engineer. The coating didn’t arrive in time for the grand opening, so the department decided to wait until school was in session, when the fountain will see less use, to go ahead with the project. Since the work is weather dependent, dates will be announced on social media and on a sign at the Plaza.
At some point, the granite inserts featuring names of sponsors will be replaced as the names are difficult to read at certain times when wet. Details on potential replacement are being worked out, said Josh Miller, Director of Development Services.
Visit Wenzel Family Plaza on Chestnut Avenue in downtown Marshfield.