(KFOR NEWS  July 3, 2019)  The City Parks and Recreation Department and the Lincoln Parks Foundation (LPF) encourage the public to take a survey to help determine the future of the 40-year old Bicentennial Cascade Fountain on the southeast corner of 27th Street and Capitol Parkway.  The survey takes less than 10 minutes and is available at go.unl.edu/cascade until August 1.  Paper copies are available by calling LPF at 402-441-8258.

The fountain was built in 1978 and no longer functions properly due to age and failing internal mechanisms.  The City Parks and Recreation Department developed these four options for the future of the fountain:

  • Making repairs only would cost an estimated $900,000.
  • Repairing and improving the fountain would cost an estimated $1.1 million.
  • Removing the fountain and replacing it with a splash pad and seating would cost an estimated $1.1 million.
  • Removing the fountain and replacing it with a plant conservatory for seasonal displays and programs would cost an estimated $2 million.

Those who take the survey will find information and conceptual designs for the four options and will then be asked their opinions on each option.  The costs of repairs and/or renovations would be funded by private donations possibly in combination with Community Challenge Grant funds managed by the LPF.

“The fountain is a well-known icon in the community,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.  “Today, we look to the future and ask our residents to help shape a vision that ensures enjoyment of the Cascade Fountain site for generations to come.”

LPF Executive Director Maggie Stuckey said those visiting the fountain will find information and a link to do the survey onsite.  “We urge all residents of Lincoln to help us figure out the best possible solution for this community gathering space,” Stuckey said.  The survey is made possible through a partnership between the LPF and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center  (ppc.nebraska.edu).

In 2018, Schemmer and Waterline Studios, fountain design experts, performed an engineering analysis on the fountain.  They identified the following critical issues with the fountain and its surroundings:

  • The piping and electrical unit have significant corrosion.
  • Overspray has caused sidewalk cracking.
  • The south basin has poor water circulation.
  • Old and inefficient mechanical equipment increases electrical use.
  • The lighting no longer works.
  • The once white fountain has mineral stains from untreated water.
  • Skateboarders have damaged the wall edges.
  • Access to the equipment pit does not meet safety codes.
  • Drains frequently clog.
  • The water level sensor is often inoperable due to scum build-up
  • Instead of a filtration or sanitation system, water treatment is manually performed.

The fountain, often referred to as the “Teachers Fountain”, was the result of a collaboration between the Lincoln Area Retired Teachers Association (now Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel) and the Parks and Recreation Department to commemorate the nation’s Bicentennial.

The fountain was dedicated to Nebraska retired teachers by the Nebraska State Retired Teachers Association and the Parks and Recreation Department.

More information about Lincoln Parks Foundation is available at: lincolnparks.org. More information on Lincoln Parks and Recreation is available at parks.lincoln.ne.gov.

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