GENESEO – The much loved and sorely missed bronze bear which sat atop the iconic fountain on Main Street will sleep at the Livingston County Museum on Center Street for the next year or so.
The Geneseo Board of Trustees agreed at their meeting on Monday that the museum would be a safe place for the bear while the monument restoration team at Moorland Studios and their stoneworking partners get to work fixing the fountain after a tractor trailer struck and badly damaged it on April 7.
“Anna Kowalchuck asked me to ask the board how they would feel about having the bear stay at the museum under lock and key until the rest of the fountain is ready for it to go back where it belongs,” said Deputy Mayor Sandra Brennan. “She was thinking it might be a draw for people to come to the museum, and it’s also a safe place.”
The bear and the pieces of the fountain are currently stored in the Village’s Department of Public Works building.
Mayor Richard Hatheway and Trustees Matthew Cook, Margaret Duff and Mary Rutigliano agreed that this sounds like a good plan.
“If the board is supportive of that idea, I think it’s great,” said Hatheway. “It is a secure place, and people can get a chance to see it up close and personal.”
As far as the repair efforts on the fountain itself, that seems much less certain.
“In terms of what’s going to happen, it’s all very much up in the air, becasue it does appear that the base of the fountain may be damaged beyond repair. but one of the things that Moorland Studios said is that no matter how good a job you do, you could never get it to hold water again, since there will always be these micro cracks,” said Hatheway. “I think they have located or at least there’s some possibility of having located some rock similar to the fountain.”
It is not even absolutely certain that Moorland Studios will do the repair work. Liberty Mutual, Upstate Farms’ insurer, has final say as to whether Moorland Studios can continue doing the work.
“It’s not our choice at this point and time,” said Hatheway. “We can certainly suggest a preference to continue to work with Moorland Studios but it’s really not our call at this point.”
Hatheway said that what is certain is that Emmeline will stay at the Livingson County Museum until the granite, likely in a quarry in India or China, can be assessed and considered as a medium from which to carve a new basin.
“We can house Emmeline at the museum for a little bit, we’re looking at a year, something in that order of magnitude,” said Hatheway. “Certainly the Moorland people have said that it’s possible to carve another basin.”
Additional reporting by Sarah Simon.