Fountain Valley’s fountain may bubble up again in a less splashy fashion
What? No fountain in Fountain Valley?
Since the city decided to symbolically support residents in conserving water during the drought, the namesake structure at City Hall has been Mojave dry.
Now, with the drought considered over for the time being, talk of bringing the the city’s fountain back to full froth has bubbled up.
At a study session, Tuesday, August 15, the city was given a number of conceptual designs by landscape architects Tatsumi and Partners to consider to restore the signature spouter and redesign the surrounding landscape.
Estimates to refurbish, replace and landscape all or parts in the fountain area ranged from $175,000 to $263,000.
And while some, like Mayor John Collins, would like to see the city with a full-fledged fountain, the majority of the City Council expressed the desire to remain water wise and are leaning toward scaling back the fountain to a less gushy gusher.
Councilman Mark McCurdy said the when the city shut down the fountain, it stood by the community in reducing water use and should continue to do so.
Collins shrugged his shoulders saying, “I gotta be honest, I liked the fountain. If we can’t do it, we can’t do it.”
The fountain structure consists of fountains fronting the city of Fountain Valley sign connected to a large bowl-shaped fountain uphill and connected by an artificial riverbed from which water flowed. The lower and upper fountains are bordered by turf and shrubbery, with pavers and benches on the upper portion.
To rebuild, resurface and repair the fountain and its pumps to its original condition and to landscape that with boulders, a flagstone path and native drought-tolerant plants is by far the most expensive of the options.
Mark Lewis, director of public works, told the council the price for that option was uncertain because the amount of money needed to repair and/or replace existing pumps and pipes won’t be known until work is underway.
Lewis said the original double fountain and connective river also were costly to operate and used large amounts of water.
The existing fountain, when functioning, required 17,000 gallons to fill, lost 20,000 gallons per month to evaporation, costing $90 monthly, and used $1,000 monthly in electricity to operate its pumps. It also cost $450 monthly to clean.
That doesn’t include the water needed to irrigate the turf, which consultant Ryohei Ota called, “a water guzzler.”
Designers had a plan to restore the smaller fountain next to the city sign. On the upper bowl area, plants could be used to “mimic water features,” Ota said. For example, he said a plant such as a fan-shaped sago palm resembles the shape of water coming up through a fountain.
Ideas for the riverbed included leaving a dry look, or using glass to mimic water. Other landscaping possibilities included installing a picnic table with a trellis covering or a community garden.
By modifying the fountain and limiting it to the lower level, Lewis estimated the city would save 11,000 gallons in filling the fountain and 14,000 gallons monthly. He also predicted yearly savings of $6,120 on water, electricity and cleaning.
Fountain options based on suggestions by the City Council will be returned for consideration at a later meeting.
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