The Gregory Park fountain will be restored to its original appearance for about $20,302.
That was the unanimous recommendation of the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Board late Monday. The board also recommended using a flexible membrane for the inside of the fountain's cement pool instead of replacing it. The membrane uses nylon mesh and coats of polymer to seal cracks in the pool and make it waterproof.
Bruce Ericson, Brainerd parks and recreation director, said independent checks with other companies found the Flair Fountain price quote for new parts to be a good one. Flair Fountain, Minneapolis, originally shipped the fountain's parts to Brainerd in 1978. The fountain was originally constructed in 1967. Ericson provided illustrations of other fountain proposals, but it was noted the fountain would have to be retrofitted to work with them.
The Gregory Park fountain was built in a 30-foot pool with five different water effects, each with its own pump. There are rotary timers and 30 underwater lights of blue, red and amber.
Hy-Tec Construction of Brainerd provided an estimate of $77,813 to refurbish the existing fountain with a new Aquavator fountain system with fewer pumps and lights. Hy-Tec estimated removing the fountain and replacing it with a new one would cost $109,217.
The city reported costs to build the entire fountain at an estimated $200,000. At the Sept. 5 city council meeting, Brainerd City Administrator Dan Vogt said the $200,000 estimate came from an adding error that added the two Hy-Tec bids together.
"That number has been wrong from day one," Vogt said Monday, adding the correction was duly reported. Vogt said the matter was blown out of proportion and now is a campaign issue.
Mark Innes, parks and recreation board chairman, said Monday there has not been a hotter issue in recent years than the Gregory Park fountain.
It has been at least three years since all the fountain lights worked. The new parts are expected to last 12 to 14 years with regular maintenance. Funds to repair the fountain with new parts will be taken from the city's 2001 budget, which includes $170,000 set aside for special projects. Plans call for the fountain to be repaired and working next spring.
Vogt said: "The goal here is to get this thing up and running as soon as possible."
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