Riverfront Park fountain still dry - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Riverfront Park fountain still dry

Albany - The popular fountain at Riverfront Park may not open this summer. Public health shut down the fountain because of safety violations, such as no public restroom. The construction company building a restroom says it will take until November to complete. That means the fountain won't be turned on until then. Now, the county is working with public health to find a temporary solution that would allow them to reopen the fountain by June.

As the temperature heats up, Julie Wilbanks and her son Matthew are already longing for the day the fountain at Riverfront Park is up and running again. "Waiting with baited breath to be able to come out and enjoy that part of the park again," said Wilbanks. You might to stop holding your breath because the fountain must remain closed until the county meets some safety guidelines required by state public health.

County workers are nearly finished installing an emergency phone next to the fountain. However, construction of a restroom facility hasn't started. County commissioners approved the money to build it nearly two months ago.

"It's kind of disappointing because it was a great place to meet and cool off on a hot day," said Wilbanks.

County Administrator Richard Crowdis says at first, he hoped the restroom and other required changes would be done by June. But, the construction company said it would take until November.

The county wants to bring in a portable restroom to use during the summer, but it must pass the test of public health. If public health o-kays the temporary facility, the fountain will open as soon as the end of May. If the county doesn't meet all the state safety guidelines, it could be a long, dry summer for kids looking to cool off in Albany's hottest new fountain.

It could cost around $11,000 to lease a portable restroom facility for four months. If the temporary facility is approved, the permanent restrooms would be built next winter when the fountain is closed.

The water quality of the fountain was never in question, the county tests the water three times a day to make sure it's safe.

posted by kathryn.murchison@walb.com