People enjoying the warming weather in Fountain Park will notice the fountain’s jets of water have been replaced with jackhammers.
Long-standing issues with the fountain’s pump system are being addressed by work crews, who drained the fountain Wednesday and will likely keep it dry for three to four months.
The work means the fountain, which cost $1 million to build, will be down for most of the outdoor season and several upcoming spring and summer events, starting with Thursday’s opening of the Come-See-Me festival.
Instead, crews will remove portions of the fountain’s pump system and dig a 45-foot hole in the center of the fountain, hoping to identify and correct issues that reduced the park’s fountain to a single geyser earlier this year.
Instead of the 50,000 gallons of water and elaborate sprays that would normally greet the public between East Main and Black streets, crews may use jackhammers and small excavators inside the fountain – although much of the work will be done by hand. Crews don’t want to disturb the foundational problems they hope to identify, said Rock Hill spokeswoman Katie Quinn.
“The intent is to cut out the bowl and see what’s happened with the foundation,” Quinn said.
Although the park itself will remain open throughout the spring and summer, the public should be cautious around the heavy equipment that will be placed around the fountain. On Wednesday, the fountain was surrounded by a web of tape warning “Do Not Enter.”
One block of Saluda Street, between the park and First Presbyterian Church, could be blocked at times during the project to accommodate work trucks and equipment.
Quinn said the work will address clogging issues that caused the fountain to be drained several times last fall. Most recently, the fountain was drained immediately after last year’s ChristmasVille celebration, after the issue shut down all but the central geyser.
The $6 million Fountain Park opened in 2014, featuring a fountain with powerful jets and pumps that can blast water more than 120 feet in the air. The park has since hosted popular outdoor events such as Rock Hill’s “Food Truck Friday” and various ChristmasVille activities.