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Work begins Monday to remove the controversial Fountain of the Pioneers in Kalamazoo

Work begins Monday to remove the controversial Fountain of the Pioneers from Bronson Park in Kalamazoo, and replace it with a grassy area. (FILE)

Work begins Monday to remove the controversial Fountain of the Pioneers from Bronson Park in Kalamazoo, and replace it with a grassy area.

The 80-year-old structure shows a Native American kneeling before a pioneer.

For months the fountain has been a much-debated topic in the city, until the Kalamazoo City Commission voted to remove it back in March.

Kalamazoo City Commission votes to remove Fountain of the Pioneers statue

Even after the vote, not everyone is on board with the decision.

Commissioner Jack Urban raised red flags last week about the process of taking the fountain down. He said he wants assurances from fellow commissioners that they will follow through on a promise to educate people about the Fountain of the Pioneers' history after the landmark is taken down.

No official plan for Bronson Park after fountain removal

Urban said, "It seemed like we were pretty much prepared to just wipe our hands and go on and say, ‘Well that's done, we've eliminated a source of annoyance in our community.’"

So far, the city has been unable to find a permanent home for the fountain. Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema said the city will store it after it is removed beginning Monday.

Ritsema said, "For archiving purposes the fountains and both pools were professionally photographed and the photos will be stored in the city's archives and made available."

Kalamazoo mayor, commissioner defend removal of Fountain of the Pioneers from Bronson Park

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell said there is still no official plan for what will become of Bronson Park in the long run.

Right now the plan is the area will be replaced with grass, which is supposed to be done by the end of May.

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Question of the Day: Are you in favor of the removal of the Fountain of Pioneers?

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