PORTLAND – Work to improve the Pullen Fountain on Federal Street began this month, with completion expected this winter and a ceremony to mark the restoration next spring.

The fountain, used as a horse watering trough, will have an enhanced seating area and the granite base and the plumbing will be repaired.

The fountain, between the rear of Central Fire Station and the federal courthouse, is named for Stanley Thomas Pullen, a former president of the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals. The fountain is often used by the horses that pull carriages through the Old Port during the summer.

Because the fountain is at the edge of the sidewalk and protrudes into Federal Street, the seating work will help protect the fountain from passing vehicles and snow clearing equipment in the winter.

Money for the project is being provided by the Portland Public Art Committee and the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust. Thomas M. Pierce, trustee for the Burnham Trust, donated $7,500 from the trust after discovering that the fountain had been designed by George Burnham, the father of Margaret Burnham.

In addition, committee member Tony Muench, a landscape architect, contributed design services and Jonathan Taggart, a conservator who works on the city’s public art collection, will direct much of the work on the fountain.