Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Grand Fountain Flows Again

Remember the modestly named Grand Fountain at Riverbank Park? It hasn't been flowing since 1992, but now it's back in business thanks to Dave Johnson.

Kristen Longley of The Flint Journal reports:

The innovative Flint resident cobbled some parts together so that on Wednesday -- for the first time since 1992 -- the repaired pump hauled river water into the picturesque fountain.

It took Johnson, who's a consultant for the Downtown Development Authority, and his team three years of reverse engineering, scouring the Internet for parts and plain ol' trial-and-error to get the waters flowing again, he said.

Now, the fountain that once was a potential target for demolition is drawing spectators as people flock downtown for Back to the Bricks.

"Whenever I could scrape up some parts I worked on it," said Johnson, 54. "It still needs some funding to run permanently, but for now we get to enjoy it."

All photos courtesy of Matt Bach at the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.


  1. Between the intermittent functioning of the fabridam and the Grand Fountain (it was down for a period in the late 80s too), the crumbling, and now gone Sit Down Strike Memorial, the collapse of the big yellow metal sculpture, the destruction of the world's longest mural, and the sale of the Archimedes Screw (sold by the city as scrap metal) Riverbank Park has been a hot mess since it's dedication in 1980.

    Glad to see the fountain working again. These guys deserve alotta credit. I just wonder how long it will take for the Hamilton Dam to be breached and wipe out all of their endeavors.

  2. What a fantastic clusterfunk of bad architecture, flood control, random slabs of concrete, and polluted water.

  3. Yeah, I'm having some very mixed emotions about this. First, I always thought it would have been much better if they'd figured out a way to let the river look like a river! Some grassy knolls, some more trees, an actual riverbank once in a while. I know, there was flooding and all that. But I think flood control higher up could have enabled a more scenic riverbank downtown.

    Having said that, I suddenly find myself attached to the concrete monstrosity. Maybe it's nostalgia, but I got a good feeling when they got the fountain up and running. It may be totally opposite of the aesthetic I would have chosen, but since it's there lets get the thing up and running.

    Plus, if things work out and there are college kids in the Hyatt, the Durant and various apartments in Carriage Town, it will once again be a great place for drinking and the other things college kids are prone to do.

  4. My kids went swimming in that area back in the early 80's after the Crim. I didn't know about it until after it happened but a friend took them as it was very hot. I thought EWWW until I realized I have let them swim in Michigan lakes and when we had the flood in 1987, they swam up and down the roads here in Flushing dodging the canoes. Life goes on.

  5. Oh my goodness, Gordie do you think that could actually happen in this day and age with those lovely college kids. unclebuck ps..Corps of Army Engineers to the rescue!!!

  6. This memory is not crystal clear, but... I think I recall, way early in this fountain's life, human excrement bobbing around in it. Am I nuts? I feel like something in the routing of liquids to be on display was lunatic.

  7. running is better than not, i think.


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