Fixing Finlay Fountain: What's the Holdup?

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia's Finlay Park was a fun place to be on the day after Thanksgiving. That is, if you were one of the dozens of kids exploring the park's new playground.

But for some adults, the rest of the 14-acre park is not such an exhilarating experience.

"It looks drearier. It's not as welcoming," said Ashley Corley.

Corley and her friends were gathered near the newly-built brick structure that now houses new pumps for the park's disabled spiral fountain. The iconic fountain has been dry for at least two years after the fountain's original and already aging pumps were damaged beyond repair by the October 2015 floods.

The city's Parks and Recreation Department had hoped to restart the cascading water flow by the end of September, but work to patch up the fountain system uncovered more problems with the pool area beneath the fountain's waterfall feature.

A contract amendment released in October put the original cost of repairing the fountain at $310,650. The additional repair work for the waterfall area and new pumps and screens for the fountain's debris removal system balloons the bill to nearly $607,000. City Council members meeting Tuesday held off on a funding decision, saying they need more time to ponder their vision for the park.

Back at the playground, Joann Troncoso kept watch over her four sons but says the city needs to move faster on the fountain fix.

"A lot of people come here…looking forward to that fountain," Troncoso said. "It's just not really the same, you know?"

The matter may be discussed by the council next month.

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