One of Hemel Hempstead’s most recognisable pieces of public art is to be restored as part of improvements to the town centre.
Dacorum Borough Council is reassuring shoppers – who may have spotted more groundwork taking place in the Marlowes – that the ‘Waterplay’ sculpture is not going to be damaged or permanently removed from the area.
The sculpture, which sits within the fountain outside Bank Court, was created in 1993 and symbolises the ‘energy, co-operation and sporting spirit’ of the youth in Dacorum.
Designed by Michael Rizzello – a London-born artist of Italian heritage, who began his career making wax heads for Madame Tussauds and died in 2004 – the work features two water cascades and a bronze sculpture of child gymnasts.
The fountain took the place of the 1962 ‘Discobolus’ marble discus thrower statue, which was relocated to the Water Gardens in 1997 to make way for Rizzello’s more modern piece. A spokesman for the council, which is employing contractor Greenford to carry out the renovation works in the town centre, said: “The ‘Waterplay’ statue will be a key part of the new scheme and will be mounted on a new granite plinth which will sit in its original location and be the centrepiece for a new water fountain.
“The statue will be removed shortly to a specialist contractor qualified to restore the statue, who will clean and repair it.
“Moving of the statue has to be undertaken carefully and at the right time.
“Currently, the contractors are moving forward with the paving work around the statue but please be reassured that they are undertaking this carefully without damage to the statue.”
The Waterplay work will soon be taken from the zone for cleaning and repairs, but will make a comeback to the town centre after its facelift.