City crews conducted a test run on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, of Friendship Fountain's new synchronized water, light and music program. | News4JaxCity crews conducted a test run on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, of Friendship Fountain's new synchronized water, light and music program. | News4Jax

Friendship Fountain will glow again on Feb. 15

Published on February 2, 2024 at 4:39 pm

Lights will sparkle and water jets will flow Feb. 15 as the newly renovated Friendship Fountain premieres the first phase of a two-year, $6 million renovation.

Downtown Jacksonville says the new light and water display at the 58-year-old fountain will kick on during the next Sip and Stroll, set for 5 to 8 p.m. that evening.

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The fountain dates back to a 1965 design by architect Taylor Hardwick and once had huge futuristic mushroom canopy-shaded benches in a park that was originally 14 acres in size. The original fountain was also claimed to have the highest jets of water in Florida.

A closeup of Friendship Fountain’s new synchronized water, light and music program, plus redesigned wall, during a test run Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. | News4Jax

The park size was cut down when the River City Brewing Co. restaurant — now gone — was built there 30 years ago. Then in 2011, the fountain received a $3.1 million restoration with new pumps and pipes so it shot water 200 feet into the air, with heavily updated lighting and sound systems.

The latest renovation was set to start in 2020 but was delayed a year. What will be unveiled Feb. 15 includes a new fountain wall design with walkway, plus shaded seating on its east side and a children’s park along the Main Street Bridge side, parks officials say.

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The next phase of Friendship Fountain’s park — a “whimsical garden” — is now set to open to the public by summer, city recreation officials said. Then a wedding garden and playground are the last part of the project,

Sip and Stroll includes live music, food vendors, bars and a picnic area along the Southbank Riverwalk.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.