By: Steve Zalusky
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Brides and grooms are again free to have their pictures snapped in front of Rosemont's iconic waterfall at the corner of River Road and Higgins Road.
The waterfall, which had been closed for 18 months to undergo $1.9 million in renovations, was officially reopened Sunday.
Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens and Village trustees gathered to cut a ribbon of roses to mark the reopening, and roses were handed out to mothers, in honor of Mother's Day. The Rosemont Cavaliers' Senior Corps regaled the audience with a rendition of "Over the Rainbow."
"It is probably the most asked question in town. 'When does the waterfall go back on?'" Stephens said just before the ribbon-cutting. "That's going to happen right now."
Amanda Weisenberger, was among the attendees impressed by the display at the Village's Monument Park. "I think it's absolutely gorgeous," she said. "I have never actually seen anything like it before. It's a really beautiful way to represent Rosemont."
Stephens credited the collaboration between the Village's public works department, construction contractor Cost of Wisconsin and subcontractors for their work revamping the "doorway to our community."
"Everything is new from the ground up," said Public Works Director Mike Raimondi, who oversaw the project since the groundbreaking last spring. That includes a new water main, rebuilt pumps and updated sprinkler systems and lighting. The fountain now pumps 100,000 gallons of water within just minutes. Stephens said there are cosmetic improvements as well, including more realistic rock features.
Since its opening on Mother's Day in 1983, the site has been a destination for photos, especially among bridal parties. Stephens said permits for photo sessions became necessary after it opened, since there was so much competition for space that people were practically starting fistfights over who arrived first. In recent years, the Village had been issuing at least 1,000 permits annually.
Stephens said the waterfall is part of the legacy of his father, the late former Mayor Donald Stephens. "My dad was big on flowers and landscaping," he said, adding that his father assigned him the project after the younger Stephens was first elected to the Village board.
Rosemont Trustee Jack Hasselberger, who was on hand Sunday, was police chief when the waterfall first opened. He remembers posing for a picture with his wife, their Maltese dog and Donald Stephens. "To us, it's an identification," he said. "It shows what we are for a small village and how proud we are of our Village."