So when will the Fountain be back on?

By May 23, 2012Blog

Everything you wanted to know about the renovation of this Point State Park icon (and how soon it will be finished)

MAY 17, 2012—With the sun shining against a bright blue sky and Point State Park brimming with sunbathers, cyclists and dog walkers, Riverlife teamed up with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to announce some big news: the Point State Park fountain reconstruction is headed into the home stretch.

That’s exciting news: by spring of 2013, the iconic fountain at the tip of the Pittsburgh pennisula will be up and running, featuring an impressive facelift as the final phase in the top-to-bottom reconstruction of Point State Park.

We invited the news media to don hardhats for a behind-the-scenes tour of the fountain construction site, offering a glimpse at the massive historic renovation underway.

And what a sight it is: the enormous granite basin of the fountain–200 feet in diameter–has been cleaned, the black grime scrubbed away to reveal the beautiful sparkling stone underneath. Construction workers and masons were busy hand-laying stone block around the outer fountain plaza while new electrical conduit was buried to provide the power that will keep the upgraded electrical systems flowing. Restoration and improvements to the pump house and bath house buildings that flank the fountain were in full swing, and the outline of a circular disappearing waterfall edge in the center of the basin gave a hint at one of the beautiful new features in store for the fountain site.

Thanks to a mild winter, the construction is slightly ahead of schedule–and we know that’s good news to the thousands of Pittsburghers who eagerly await the fountain’s return. You can be certain that the dedication ceremony for the new fountain will make quite a splash in 2013.

To tide you over in the interim, here are some fun facts about the Point State Park fountain:
 

  • The central water column of the new Fountain will continue to operate at around 150-200 feet.

  • The renovated Fountain will feature a raised fountain base, more accessible seating, a cascade waterfall, all new stone paving surfaces, new plumbing and new lighting.

  • The majestic fountain at the headwaters of the Ohio River was dedicated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on August 30, 1974, marking the completion of the 36-acre Point State Park which was 29 years in planning and construction.

  • The fountain is operated daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. weather permitting, during the spring, summer and fall seasons.

  • When the fountain is in operation, there are over 800,000 gallons of water in the system. Three 250 hp pumps operate the main column of the fountain which reaches to 100 feet high. Three 75 hp pumps operate the three fan design water features known as peacock tails which symbolize the three rivers. Lighting around the fountain enhances the grandeur of this best known feature of the park.

  • The circular basin of the fountain is 200 feet in diameter and the water within the fountain is re-circulated. Water to replace the amount lost during fountain operations is obtained from a 54-foot deep well that penetrates sands and gravels under the park. These sands and gravels are below the groundwater table and are saturated with water that infiltrates from the adjoining rivers.

    Check out some of the media coverage of the fountain press conference:

    “Hope springs for the Point State Park fountain,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette
    “Point State Park fountain’s return in sight,”
    Tribune Review
    “Point State Park fountain getting closer to return,”
    WTAE / Sally Wiggin (video)

    Photos, top to bottom: (1) Workers lay each individual stone by hand along the Allegheny River side of the fountain plaza. (2) Riverlife president Lisa Schroeder announces the home stretch of fountain construction during a press conference at the Fort Pitt Museum overlooking Point State Park. (3) Engineers and park rangers from DCNR lead the media into the hardhat zone of the construction area overlooking the fountain basin.