Historic Fort Plain fountain vandalized

FORT PLAIN – A group of vandals ripped the crown off the historic fountain in Haslett Park in Fort Plain. Investigators say it happened overnight Friday into Saturday.

“Then there was another layer that was pushed off,” said Mayor Pat Hanifin. “It’s cast-iron, so that’s how we knew it had to be more than one person. And somehow or another they got that up and over and that landed in the fountain.”

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The vandals also snapped off a cast-iron bird at the bottom, and left a bunch of alcohol containers behind.

The response was immediate: a mixture of great anger and sadness.

The fountain has been the backdrop of many wedding and prom photos over the years.

The mayor says anyone who grew up in Fort Plain played around the fountain for library class, or maybe sat there eating some ice cream from nearby Stewart’s.

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Many shake their heads at the senseless destruction.

“I think whoever did it has better things that they could do and make things better instead of worse,” said passerby Bill Sanders.

Mayor Pat Hanifin says people have offered money for a reward, and that they’ve gotten a lot of anonymous tips.

Robinson Iron of Alabama has offered to do the repair work again this time. The company gave the fountain an overhaul in 1991.

The fountain is more than a century old.

“What I’m hearing from the community is that we want the people who did this to pay for it. As they should,” said the mayor. “This was a shameful act done by a group of people, and they should have to pay.”

Meanwhile, police are moving ahead with their investigation.

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“Right now, I’ve been in constant contact with our officer in charge, Pat Cechnicki, and his team of investigators. I’m very comfortable with where we’re at, and I think we’re going to see something very soon, because that’s what the community wants. We want to hold responsible the people that did this.”