Designer Bryant Fleming never intended for this to happen, but during periods of moderate to heavy rainfall, the Allée transformed from a pedestrian walkway into a tumbling waterfall. Over the decades, this moving water resulted in considerable erosion that undermined the stability of the iconic limestone structure.
From the outset of the current restoration effort, the Allée Rehabilitation Committee was determined to understand and address the storm water runoff problems, committed to investing in solutions that would preserve and protect the historic landmark. Prior to the beginning of construction, Collier Engineering conducted a study that mapped out the sources and volume of surface and groundwater. Plans were then developed to capture this run off at multiple locations and divert it harmlessly away from the Allee.
Among other things, the study determined that up to 70% of the runoff impacting the structure originated above the bridle path and the asphalt road in the upper elevations. The design and improvements to address this challenge included re-grading the cross-slope of the bridle path and asphalt road, pouring a concrete gutter faced with sandstone pavers, installing new surface drains and underground culverts, and the construction of a large limestone catch basin... affectionately called "the wishing well" by some.
The cost for these storm water run off projects may have been substantial, but all agree that they were money well spent to ensure that the Allée will continue to serve park visitors for generations to come.
By the end of this month, all will be able to visit the completed project: gathering at gorgeous and expanded the flagpole plaza, strolling up the steps, relishing the view from above, and dropping a wish or a prayer at the top as you gaze upon the “wishing well.” We are elated to share the restoration with everyone soon, and will be shouting from the rooftops as soon as we have a confirmed reopening date!