Elkhart County residents with a vision to create connection, beauty, or a celebration in the communities they call home were invited to participate in the Vibrant Communities’ Vibrant Neighborhoods grant program. The since-completed initiative provided funds to applicants who described a project to bring vitality to their neighborhoods.

Paula Turk, a resident of the Melrose Manor community, received a grant to restore a fountain that had once been a cherished neighborhood landmark. Here she describes neighbors’ shared commitment to the revitalization process that ensured the fountain could burble again every evening.

After receiving the grant, I researched and put a production timeline together. I also reached out for advice to the Indiana Landmarks organization, which was great, but, long story short, this was a much bigger undertaking than I ever thought!

A small neighborhood team put in 46 hours of labor. This included scraping, cleaning, sanding, and about 16 hours of power-washing off years of old paint. There was also caulking and another four hours of shopping for paint and supplies. If you add in the time spent aligning with the neighborhood on the project, we had 50 hours into this project.

The project took a lot longer and was much more expensive than I thought it would be. We used almost all the $500 from the grant for paint and supplies.

Melrose Manor’s residents are very happy with the results, and we are grateful for the grant and idea. We probably wouldn’t have done this without funds — or at least not this year.

After the painting was completed, the fountain’s motor died. The neighborhood chipped in to purchase a new one for about $348.

The effort included Chuck Gleissner, Duane Roach, Steve Crawford, Marva Netherland, and Angie McMahon.

–Paula Turk, Melrose Manor

Melrose Manor - Before photo
Melrose Manor - Before photo
Melrose Manor - Before photo
Melrose Manor - After photo

Pictured: Angie McMahon, Marva Netherland and Bill Cohen

Leave a Reply