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New London's whale tail still high and dry

By Kathleen Edgecomb

Publication: The Day

Published May 09. 2012 4:00AM

New London - Freezing temperatures are gone. Spring is here. You can sense that warm and humid weather is nearing.

But why isn't the Whale Tail Fountain flowing?

"Where is MY WATER I WANT TO SPLASH" the Whale Tail posted Monday on its Facebook page. Yes, the fountain has a Facebook page. It also has a Twitter account, and last tweeted in April, "What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about."

Another fountain in the city, at the intersection of Shaw and Howard streets, and Pequot and Willetts avenues, is happily spouting.

Murray Renshaw, whose plumbing business is nearby, turned on the water last week. He said he took over the fountain by eminent domain, a nod to the Fort Trumbull development area where the city invoked its eminent domain rights to clear the land for future development. The fountain was built as part of a roundabout for road reconstruction for the project.

"Yea, I'm the head maintenance guy,'' he joked Tuesday.

For the past few years, Renshaw has tended the fountain, keeping out the waders and policing against bubbles. He has begun prepping for spring planting around the perimeter. This year, he'll focus on zinnias, his favorite.

The city's third fountain, in Garibaldi Square at Montauk Avenue and Shaw Street, is undergoing maintenance.

So why are the pavers dry around the tail of the whale diving into the concrete at The Parade? The fountain was part of The Parade's $10 million redesign. Water began splashing off the flukes to much fanfare last spring.

The water dried up for a while last summer after a confrontation between the whale and a homeless man looking for a place to wash up. But eventually, it was turned back on, and spotters were assigned to keep people out of the spray.

The mayor's office said Tuesday that the water department may be in charge of turning the fountain on. The Public Utilities office wasn't sure about that but said they would look into it. The Public Works Department may be in charge, but there's no word yet from those offices.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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