Not often are meetings described as “great” but Water for Riley volunteers agreed. That was a great meeting on March 9, 2017.
The coordination team gathered to discuss how to build and install the drinking fountain, Reflecting Blooms.
Setting the tone, Michelle Reid summarized Riley Park’s importance as Calgary’s best example of an historic cultural landscape.
In other words, Riley Park is very distinctly of its time, 1910 and 1920s. Riley Park would look quite different if it were a modern park. Thus, the City does not want Riley Park to look like an ordinary park. Riley Park must be distinguishable yet compatible with and subordinate to the landscape of rolling hills that mark Calgary’s natural features.
Wow, that’s a demanding framework Water for Riley must respect. Fortunately, the jury’s choice of winning design does that. As Michelle Reid concluded, ““It’s amazing that the students were so successful in designing their drinking fountains, considering how complicated intervening in historic landscapes can be.” Michelle’s comments made Water for Riley very proud of the ACAD and SAIT student designers.
With that context, the experts from IBI Group and Heavy Industries coordinated the work to be done. There’s an early phased plan to obtain approvals, create preliminary drawings, and prepare design templates. The processes to fund raise, build, and install the drinking fountain are tentatively mapped and the first round of tasks assigned.
Michelle Lazo, the winning designer, will have the opportunity to work with these wonderful experts as part of her award. Together, they will turn her designer’s concept into a reality.
To be part of this exciting project, call 403 862 1923. Help build the drinking fountain so that the future looks like history in this unique, historic, natural jewel.
Click the link and let the Parks Foundation know you want your donation to go to Water for Riley.
Water for Riley made tremendous progress in the past few months. Among other news:
The jury has selected one design
Phase 1, over the past year, garnered 21 drinking fountain designs. In phase 2, the jury shortlisted three designs that went for technical review. The jury met and decided unanimously on one design. Phase 2 concludes in mid-January, 2017, when the jury’s selection of the final design is announced. W4R thanks the anonymous five jurors for diligent volunteer service, and their superb Chair, Sally Truss.
It will be one of these three exciting student designs:
W4R is so grateful to receive a Stepping Stone grant for the celebration at which the winning design will be announced. A volunteer planning committee is organizing a gathering soon to be held on ACAD’s campus. Everyone will be invited, so stay tuned for the details of this public event. Thank you to The Calgary Foundation, wonderful volunteers and ACAD, among others.
Place2Give has been a creative, wise partner from the beginning of the project. As fiscal agent, Place2Give CEO, Gena Rotstein, gave W4R excellent advice. Place2Give’s advisory relationship with W4R will continue. Thank you to the Parks Foundation, which is now accepting donations on W4R’s behalf.
The Parks Foundation joins W4R’s other generous collaborating partners.
Phase 3 will soon be underway
Phase 3 is to build this winning design. Phase 4 will be the installation and grand unveiling celebration of this beautiful, functional, artistic drinking fountain.
Phase 3 depends on successful fundraising to pay for the construction. If you are able to volunteer to help with one of the upcoming fundraising events, please call 403 862 1923. Let’s discuss which of these volunteer committees’ activities is right for you.
To donate, click in the button to go to the Parks Foundation site. Once at that site, please indicate your donation is for Water for Riley Park.
On May 11, 2016, a jury of five experts in the fields of arts, engineering and public spaces, deliberated together under the excellent guidance of Sally Truss, as Chair, and Michelle, the representative of the City of Calgary Parks Dept.
The result is that three student designs are short listed. The jury’s decision for the short list was based on criteria such as accessibility of design and overall esthetics. Because the designers were students, the experienced jury members made excellent comments on each of the short listed designs.
Those three designs will go for technical review. The professionals at IBI Group will report on how feasible, durable, functional, affordable, and conforming to best industry standards the designs are. That report will be available sometime this summer, depending on the complexity of the review.
The short list will be announced at a special free festival on 18 June, at 10:30 AM. Join us and 20 local artists on Neighbour Day at our sponsor Framed on Fifth. 1207 5th Ave NW, between 10 AM and 5 PM.
After we have the IBI Group report to guide the jury in its final deliberation and decision, the jury will select the one design to be constructed. We won’t have a date for the final jury meeting until we receive the IBI Group report.
If you want to contribute to Water for Riley through the Parks Foundation, please click the button and specify you are donating to Water for Riley.
To volunteer, email or call 403 862 1923 for details.
Water for Riley proudly presents the ACAD and SAIT student designs in the running for the drinking fountain design challenge. They are available for viewing and comments at Blank Page Studio until April 24, 2016. Stop by and add your comments.
These photos are no substitute for seeing the whole collection in the studio space. Please visit and leave your opinions on the page beside each design. No page at Blank Page need be left blank.
And now, in no particular order, the long list of 21 student designs, before the short list is chosen
– ta dum da dum –
To participate in Water for Riley, email or call 403 862 1923. To donate through the Parks Foundation, please click the button and specify your donation is for the Water for Riley project.
Two good questions 1. Why didn’t the City of Calgary install a drinking fountain in Riley Park instead of this lengthy, volunteer-driven, Water for Riley process?
2. What makes Water for Riley’s drinking fountain costly?
Both questions came up as the 21 amazing designs shine in the exhibit at Blank Page Studio during the This Is My City Festival from April 7 to 24, 2016.
The answer to both excellent questions is similar: Water for Riley wants more than obtaining a squat concrete public drinking fountain. The jargon for our vision is cumulative impacts. A beautiful, artistic fountain was the mechanism for attaining those cumulative impacts.
Now for the long answers.
Why not a plain, simple drinking fountain? A drinking fountain in Riley Park is an unfunded priority. More jargon meaning there’s no money and won’t be money in the City of Calgary budget although Riley Park’s need for drinking water is known. If there were money for it, the drinking fountain would have one nozzle without regard to users’ disabilities, height differences, artistic merit to attract visitors, canine needs, or the other criteria the college students considered in their thoughtful designs. And no cumulative impacts:
We will have fixed costs no matter which design is selected to build: Buy the structure for $$, transport it to Riley Park for $$$, dig a trench for $$$, pour a foundation for $, install hook up to waterline for $$, cover trench for $$, and turn on the water for $. The City’s estimate for installing any fountain is $20,000.00
If we have to fundraise for a plain, simple fountain, we saw an opportunity to acquire a beautiful, student designed, drinking fountain and forge new and strengthen existing networks of relationships, establish connections among neighbouring institutions, and build community.
In the past 100+ years, Riley Park’s neighbours didn’t collaborate if they had an idea to share, a problem to solve, or an interest in common. Water for Riley wants Riley Park’s neighbours to get acquainted and build social capital together. Social capital creates trust, and trusting neighbourhoods have less crime, higher energy, more caring, and better economies.
We’ve already achieved some cumulative impacts These are quotes from our conversations with Water for Riley’s partners:
School Administrator: “We’ve always wanted to work with the colleges and never had a reason to call them.”
ACAD Administrator: “I’ve been looking for an excuse to call my counterpart at SAIT.”
Faculty member at ACAD: “My students are so excited about this opportunity to work on a real project in the community.”
Faculty member at SAIT: “The students had a bidding war for the chance to work on Water for Riley instead of the other projects we offered them.”
ACAD Student: “None of my other classmates had a chance to work with a real client and solve a real world design problem like we’ve had with Water for Riley.”
SAIT Student: “Water for Riley is a valuable part of my learning about how to apply design to the world around me.”
This Is My City Art Society partner: “Water for Riley is a true community based, volunteer driven project. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”
Students at both Colleges admitted that, until Water for Riley, they’d never wandered down the hill to see the natural jewel of an urban park at ACAD and SAIT’s feet.
The last word on cumulative impacts goes to Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association: “As the nearest neighbour to Riley Park, the HSCA is inundated with park visitors asking to use our building’s facilities. Water for Riley provides needed water, and enhances HSCA’s mandate of increased volunteerism and community engagement. HSCA had no relationship at all with ACAD or SAIT prior to this initiative. When neighbours identify projects that better our community, the whole community, present and future, becomes more resilient, adaptive and resourceful. The lessons learned through this project are transferable and trans-generational. Projects such as this demand the attention of funders, to collectively encourage and promote grassroots innovation that strengthens neighborhoods to overcome complex challenges in the future. Our employees come and go, but stories of residents turning ideas into action live on for decades. This initiative will be inspirational to many, and will serve as a roadmap for what can be accomplished through multi-partner collaborations in a community.”
2. Budget: What does Water for Riley’s fountain cost?
How much do shoes cost? It depends on design, materials, labour, etc. After our jury selects a design we’ll know. Our best guesstimate to build an artistic fountain is somewhere between $40,000.00 and $60,000.00, about double the cost of a plain fountain, not including installation costs.
We anticipate incidental costs of $7,000.00 for the design selection process, $5,000 of which is for technical expertise to review the short list of designs for feasibility, durability and affordability.
So far, we’ve had no (zero, nada) administration costs or incidentals. Everything has been donated; meeting and display spaces, lunches, photocopies, and time volunteered. Framed on Fifth donated the posters for all the exhibits. The wonderful Diana designed our fabulous logo, named Water for Riley, and constructed this website. Here is our still-expanding list of incredible partners.We’re very grateful for all, and hope this answers some questions. All questions, comments and offers to help are welcome. Email or call 403 862 1923.
To donate to the fountain project through the Parks Foundation click the button and specify your donation is for Water for Riley.
Tell us what you like about each design when you visit the exhibit at Blank Page Studio (1221B Kensington Road NW, Calgary, 2nd floor, entrance left of the mural) as part of This Is My City Festival.Follow Water for Riley for updates: Twitter @waterforriley
Please contribute to our beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and specify your support is for Water for Riley.
Purposes of the Water for Riley Project:
Riley Park’s nine hectares boast a cricket pitch, playground, wading pool, wooded areas, gorgeous memorial gardens, and open areas for rest, sports and picnics. Riley Park encourages activities for children. Yet Riley Park lacks facilities, such as drinking water. As an historic jewel among Calgary’s parks, Riley Park deserves an artistic drinking fountain. The volunteer committee believes success comes from community and builds community.
The Water for Riley Project is based on five principles:
Health: Thirsty visitors must leave, or bring bottled, sweet, or caffeinated drinks. Safe, sustainably delivered water on site shows a caring, welcoming community.
Environment: Discarded disposable cups and bottles litter the trash, bushes, and fence line. It’s an unsustainable waste of resources when a fountain would refill reusable containers.
Community building: This project brings together the park’s neighbours for the first time in a century. The Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Association, Hillhurst School, This Is My City Art Society, City of Calgary, local businesses and residents are involved. ACAD and SAIT students experienced a design challenge the Calgary Foundation funded.
Economic well-being: Attractions attract. The Kensington businesses work hard to make our community a visitors’ destination. An artistic drinking fountain supports that goal.
Other collective benefits of this project to our community and Calgary include:
connect people to place in an inner city destination,
increase energy for volunteerism and community engagement,
facilitate being in nature in a dense urban space and increase environmental awareness,
share knowledge of Riley Park as a designated historic resource,
encourage eyes on the street and crime reduction with families in the park,
join the international Blue Community Framework of water as a human right
the thrill of beautiful design instead of a concrete block public drinking fountain.
In the midst of an economic downturn wasn’t the best timing to raise money in Calgary. But, when we started Water for Riley a barrel of oil sold for almost $100 and money flowed with it. Not any more!
We are, therefore, so very grateful to receive news today that one of our grant applications has succeeded. It means we are, suddenly, about half way to our fundraising goal. More importantly, it reinforces a specific message: We are trusted to connect Riley Park’s neighbours who had never collaborated before.
Thanks from the Water for Riley volunteers
The Calgary Foundation was the first money in and made us believe we could do this project. Others also see the value of this project to our wellbeing and community spirit. With one of the inspiring student drinking fountain designs in our Riley Park, we will attract visitors and perhaps temporary sculpture gardens as an economic boost to Kensington. Anything feels possible right now as we celebrate the news.
The jury will soon select the student design to be built. With this new and significant donation we can ask a fabricator for the cost to build whichever unique design the jury selects from our student drinking fountain designs. Only then will we know how much more money has to be raised.
The letter from the Government of Alberta congratulated Water for Riley for … well, here’s the letter with the sentiment, which we appreciate.
Next item: pick the selected design;
After that: find out what it costs to build that design;
In conclusion: raise the balance to construct and install the fountain.
CELEBRATE (sometime soon) coming to Riley Park, a beautiful functional drinking fountain and an outstanding opening ceremony!! Stay tuned.
To participate in Water for Riley, email, or call 403 862 1923.
To donate through the Parks Foundation, click in the button and specify your contribution is for the Water for Riley.