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People who walked past the unveiling of the new fountain at Hoyt Lake on Wednesday morning were already taking photos of themselves with the 50-foot-tall central jet in the background.

That’s the kind of reaction that Thomas Herrera-Mishler, president of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, expects to see a lot more of.

“I think it’s going to become a very popular spot in Delaware Park,” Herrera-Mishler said of the fountain that re-creates one originally installed in 1897.

He said there were two purposes in bringing back the fountain: beauty and practicality.

“The fountain was a historic feature in the park. It adds that additional sound of water at that end of the park,” Herrera-Mishler said, “and it helps aerate the water.”

That aeration is important because pollutants find their way into Scajaquada Creek, which feeds the lake, from the overflows at the airport and numerous other sites.

State Sen. Mark Grisanti helped secure $100,000 from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, of which $49,000 paid for the fountain. Other funds went toward a study and testing of the lake and the Scajaquada Creek watershed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which contributed $90,000. The study will examine the sediment.

“The water these days is vastly improved, thanks to the city’s terrific work lately in digging two new wells,” Herrera-Mishler said. “As the water enters, it is aerated appropriately, and it’s actually quite remarkable to see the difference just in the last couple of months since the wells have been operational.”

But he said there is much more that needs to be done.

The conservancy’s long-term master plan calls for restoring the original Olmsted shoreline, digging out the fill dumped in the park lake during the construction of the Scajaquada Expressway, restoring the original Olmsted-designed shoreline, islands and peninsula, and building a constructed wetlands to naturally treat the water.

The water would then go from Scajaquada Creek into those wetlands and another being built in Forest Lawn, so by the time it hit the lake it would be naturally cleansed, Herrera-Mishler said.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said he hopes passage of an environmental bond act that could be on the ballot in November 2014 would make available $5 billion for clean water projects, sewer upgrades and park improvements to address water-quality issues like in Hoyt Lake.

email: msommer@buffnews.com