I was very disappointed to learn that the city is closing off public access to the Concourse fountain, putting up signs saying that it is a fountain not a spray park. As your article pointed out, the Concourse fountain was designed as an “interactive fountain” aka spray park, according to its own designers. It has been, functionally, a spray park for over 20 years. It feels insulting for the city to abruptly close our spray park, by telling us that it’s not a spray park. Equally disappointing, the city can’t be bothered to tell us what the supposed “safety issues” are, or what the city’s plan is to fix them, or by when. It makes me worry that they don’t really plan to fix the safety issues, and they’re going to leave it closed permanently, like what happened with Crown Center.
I hope that does not happen, selfishly because I love taking my family to the fountain, but also because it is so important and special for our neighborhood. On hot days, the fountain is always full of happy kids, splashing and playing in the cold water. What’s more, most of the people who enjoy the fountain are lower-income, immigrant and refugee families who live nearby. Many don’t have the money to go to a pool or water park, or a car to get there. It has also become a gathering place for the community, part of the summer fun for block parties, festivals, and neighborhood events that are held at the Concourse. It’s sad to think that such a special amenity for our neighborhood could be lost.
The vague response and lackadaisical attitude from the city make me feel that they do not prioritize, or even care about our neighborhood. It’s hard not to feel that way already. Everywhere we look in Historic Northeast, we see a failure of the city to perform basic functions (litter, crime, homeless camps, streets full of potholes). It seems the city has limitless money and attention for improvements downtown, and other places in the city that are already well-off. But when it comes to a spray park in lower-income, immigrant area, the only option, apparently, is take it away. I hope the city will get its priorities straight and fix our fountain in time for next summer.
– Northeast Resident
To read more about the recent activity on the concourse fountain, click on the link below.