Continuing our blog series celebrating Aquatic Design & Engineering’s (ADE) 30th anniversary, we’re taking a look at a project that remains one of the most rewarding memories for founding principal Ken Martin. In this blog, he shares how ADE’s fountain brought new life to the downtown core of White Plains, New York.
Aquatic Design & Engineering, Inc. (ADE) had only recently completed a wonderful water feature project in White Plains, New York. ADE and Sasaki Associates of Watertown, MA had teamed up again to provide a phenomenal automated water feature that included laminar nozzles programmed to contemporary music to accompany the rising and falling pop-jets, choreoswitches, large geysers, and laminar arching jets in the heart of White Plains. All of this wonder was placed into a very old, tired, dimly-lit urban park that had not been well maintained. The condition of this urban area was such that families had, for years, no interest in using it. It’s important to note that White Plains was in the midst of a downtown renaissance with several multi-use high-rise buildings being built. All parties (city officials, developers, and design team) were positive that the old park had to be dealt with and be made to be enjoyable again. It was quickly determined that the park (to be named Renaissance Square) needed a great water feature to be the magnet that drew families back to downtown.
After the entire design process was finalized, and we saw through the construction to completion, it was a magnificent day when the project was ultimately opened. The City of White Plains held a grand opening ceremony with hundreds of special invited guests from the community, including local veterans and service members. I remember Lee Greenwood's song, "God Bless the USA" being played while dozens of veterans stood with hands over their hearts and tears streaming down their faces, singing along to the song and watching the fountain. As the water feature almost magically propelled bright, illuminated water into the air in cadence with the words from the song, they continued to sing ".. proud to be an American."
To that date, it was the most rewarding work event of my life. I had never seen so much joy in the faces of mothers, kids playing, and people dancing to the beat of the selected music and our water feature movements almost mesmerizing those in attendance. It was reported to me later that the downtown merchants were again having record-setting sales days, there were crowds both daytime and night time, and no one wanted to leave the park when the music and water shows stopped nightly at 10 p.m. Even a decade later, we’re still proud to have been part of a development that has brought new life to White Plains and become a prime placemaking feature for the city’s downtown core.
Visit the Renaissance Plaza Fountain project page to read more.