Fountain awaiting dedication Monday

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 22, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Oderzo, Italy’s first gift to Suffolk came in the early 1900s: Amadeo Obici, the founder of Planters Peanuts who bequeathed a hospital to his adopted American home.

Oderzo’s second gift to this city will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. Monday, during the dedication ceremony for the Obici-Oderzo Fountain in Courtouse Park. The mosaic tiles used to create a vase on the Italian fountain were a gift from the city of Oderzo.

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Over the past three years, the Suffolk Sister Cities Commission has raised approximately $50,000 to build the fountain commemorating Obici. It also pays homage to the sister-city relationship that has developed between Suffolk and Oderzo over the past decade.

Although the city chipped in on the project, most of it was funded through contributions from about 40 local companies, organizations and individuals, said Mary Jane Naismith, president of the commission.

Oderzo has played a key role in bringing the fountain to fruition, Naismith said. It has been under construction next to the Mills E. Godwin Courts Building for the past two months.

A noted Oderzo architect, Paolo Rosso, designed the fountain. His proposal was selected from among several submitted through a design competition among Oderzo architects.

The fountain features a marble column inscribed with Oderzo and Opitergium, the current and original Roman name for the city respectively. A plate at the basin features the boot-shaped country and Oderzo’s location in it.

The bottom of the basin is made of three slabs of trachyte, the same marble used to build the old Roman forum and Oderzo’s city square.

A delegation of 32 Oderzo representatives, including the city’s local government leaders and Rosso, are coming to the United States to help dedicate the fountain. Suffolk residents are invited to attend the dedication ceremony and reception that will follow in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Other guests expected to attended Vito Piraino, consul to Italy; Joylene Dolzell, Obici’s great-niece; Amy Kohlbricker, representative from Sister Cities International in Washington, D.C.; and Polly Owens, state SCI coordinator.

The dedication ceremony is also drawing attention from Italians who have settled in Hampton Roads, Naismith said.

She has received calls from several who are planning to attend the ceremony.

Several Suffolk residents have opened up their homes to the Italian visitors, Naismith said.

Jane Moore, Italian coordinator for the commission, has planned a full agenda of activities for the delegation, including trips to the Oceanfront, a Norfolk Tides ballgame, and a Navy base visit.