Why the Coolidge Park fountain remains off
The aging fountain got a $90,000 makeover last year to replace very old wiring and more.
When the fountain at Coolidge Park is turned on for the first time this summer, you might notice there's more water than usual for splashing around and cooling off. The aging fountain got a $90,000 makeover last year to replace very old wiring and more.
"We replaced all the valves. There are roughly 20 large electric valves that operate spray functions," says James Bergdoll, Director of Parks Maintenance for the Public Works Department.
The chlorination system was also replaced. However, before the flip can be switched, Bergdoll says the fountain still has to be inspected to make sure winter didn't take a toll on the system and no pipes are clogged.
"Debris and sediment and things like that in the pits, so we have to clean all that out," explains Bergdoll. "Then we have to go through all the components of the system itself--the valves, the pumps, to make they're in operating condition."
It doesn't happen overnight. The handful of qualified workers who can perform the inspection also work on other projects. Bergdoll says it takes about two hours to do the inspection, which is done underground and requires extra safety measures. They want to do it right to make sure the water keeps flowing all season long.
"We want to make sure we're checking everything and not miss something where we might have a catastrophic failure with the system," adds Bergdoll.
Typically the city simply sets a target date each year of Memorial Day weekend to turn on the fountain. With temperatures possibly reaching 90° this weekend, Bergdoll hopes to have it ready early. This will be up to what the inspection reveals.
"Can't guarantee it but we'll certainly work on it," says Bergdoll.
The fountain also needs a new sump pump. The Coolidge Park fountain upgrade cost was split fifty-fifty between the city and the county. Public Works also has to inspect the fountain and the other water features in front of and in back of the aquarium.