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Town votes to add a new water feature to Rockwater Park
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Town votes to add a new water feature to Rockwater Park

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The tables have turned on Culpeper’s Rockwater Park sculpture projects, with progress now on a fountain at the park, and no immediate plan for the Lions Club eyeglasses creation.

Culpeper Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to spend $14,953 to purchase a stacked rock fountain for placement in Rockwater Park in the “roundabout” area where four paths converge below the splash pad and playgrounds.

The Boulder Fountain brand item will come from Southern Grace, a home and garden décor store on scenic grounds along U.S. Route 29 in Madison.

Councilman Keith Price, who helped with previous fountain efforts, said the Arts & Culture Center of Culpeper has $3,000 it would like to donate toward the project.

“We’d love to have it,” Mayor Mike Olinger said.

Town public works will incorporate accent landscaping around the fountain, as well as install underground electric and water service to the fountain the town described in a report as “an intergenerational feature for park visitors.”

In a recent interview about the project, Price envisioned benches in the area around the fountain, “so people can sit and relax and enjoy the beauty of the park.”

A grander work of public art had been planned for the spot, with Fauquier artist Gary Colson commissioned in 2019 to sculpt a creation uniting rock and water elements out of a piece of granite donated by Rapidan quarry, Virginia Mist. But ultimately Colson backed out of the deal after his design generated little enthusiasm and the pandemic halted all such activity.

Donations gathered for the work of art by the Arts & Culture Center of Culpeper were returned in February.

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“I’m pleased with the idea of having some kind of nice attraction in that circle,” Price said, though it was “disappointing for a more unique piece of art to fall through.”

The eyeglasses sculpture by Culpeper artist Roque Castro, on the other hand, has paused for the time being.

Castro said in an email message that the giant eyeglasses sculpture is in Fredericksburg getting a final coating to prepare it for weathering the outdoors. Castro expects it will be ready for installation at the beginning of July.

However, the Mid-Day Lions Club, who commissioned the artwork, has yet to coordinate with the Town on where it will be installed in the park.

“The playground for younger children that was put in at the park is right where the eyeglasses sculpture was originally going to go,” Price said. “So as far as I know nobody has figured out a plan B for that.”

The creation is intended to be a representation of the Lions’ international mission of bringing eyeglasses to people around the world who may not have access to them.

“The Lions call themselves the Knights of Vision,” Castro said in an interview at his workshop in March. “I’ve been very grateful to learn more about what they do and try to create their vision for this project.”

Lions Clubs across the world collect old eyeglasses and match the prescriptions with people living in poverty who are visually impaired.

Culpeper Star-Exponent staff write Allison Brophy Champion contributed to this report.

This article has been updated. The organization gathering funds for the commissioned sculpture by Gary Colson at Rockwater Park was the Arts & Culture Center in Culpeper. The original article stated the organization was the Windmore Foundation.

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