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Cypress Park’s “Dancing Fountain” left high and dry


Confluence Fountain pictured in 2011

Cypress Park  — It’s been more than seven years since officials gathered under the shadow of the 5 Freeway at Figueroa Street to dedicate an $800,000, computer-controlled “dancing fountain.”  But the fountain once described as the “iconic gateway to the Northeast community” has been fenced off and covered with sheets of plywood sheets for some time now. The fountain’s owners say it’s damaged and don’t know when it will ever spring to life again.

The fountain was part of the first phase of Confluence Park, a new green space being created near the spot where the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco meet.  The fountain — which was created by the same people who brought you the fountains at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas and the Americana at Brand in Glendale — shot columns of water into the air from a circular plaza near the Cypress Park Home Depot.

A few years after the fountain opened, construction began nearby on the new Riverside-Figueroa Bridge and a large traffic roundabout right next to the plaza. It was during that time that the fountain was damaged, says Dash Stolarz of the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority, which owns and manages the Confluence Park property.

Dash said her organization believes that a heavy-duty truck working on the nearby bridge project went past the barriers surrounding the plaza and “drove over the fountain, causing extensive, severe, and costly damage to the fountain and its operating system,” said Stolarz in an email. “We pursued a claim with the City to no avail.”

Now, the city is  preparing to spend $800,000 to even out the area where the fountain’s plaza meets the new roundabout. However, that money does not include fountain repairs, according to Stolarz and a spokeswoman for the city’s Bureau of Engineering.

So, when will the fountain get fixed? Not anytime soon, apparently. Stolarz said the city will have to complete the latest construction project before the process of repairing the fountain can begin.

“At this time,” said Stolarz, “we have no timetable, or any identified budget for repairing the system.”

Before: Fountain shoots jets of water into the air

After: Broken fountain is surrounded by fencing

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2 comments

  1. Having worked with WET Designs on a number of projects, I can assure that this fountain didn’t cost $800K… WET doesn’t touch anything for less than $2M. $800K to repair, yes, but no way did this articulated fountain costs that.

    I’ve been wanting to research this debacle ever since I stopped by to visit my friend who was the fountain programmer for the project. No sooner was the project completed and programmed than it was shuttered, never to be seen again.

    Here’s what I want to know: Why did a public agency (Mountains Recreation Conservancy) squander a cool couple of $Mil on a project that we never got to enjoy? And why is our Northeast community having to look at a blighted, tagged and fenced off eyesore? If this situation were occurring on the West side, you can be damn sure these conditions would not obtain.

    This is wrong in so many ways- A misguided project, a waste of public funds, no accountability. That money could have served the Northeast corridor in so many better and more beneficial ways. Rather than pursue a claim with the city, I suggest the MRCA look into its own screwed up management and financial polices.

  2. Thanks for covering this sad story of neglect and neglience.

    The Arroyo Seco Confluence has the potential to be the gem of the Los Angeles River, but all we’ve got has been lots of promises and pathetic performance.

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