Penrose Fountain Stirs Controversy

City officials are asking, but many simply aren't listening. Residents continue to cool off in Julie Penrose fountain and City officials are working on a solution that could include pulling down "keep out" signs.

For parents like Della Garelle running through a city fountain is one sure fire way to keep kids happy as temperatures rise.

"It's natural. Kids. Water. Hot day," said Garelle.

It may be natural, but it clearly goes against the city's posted wishes pasted on keep out signs on the water’s edge.

"Hey, I'm a teacher. I can't believe people can't read and follow directions. What's the problem?" asked Rita Steinhauer.

The problem isn't with the attention Julie Penrose fountain is getting: it's stopping a wave of indifference now it's started.

"Unless they start ticketing and fining people [only then] they'll be able to keep kids out of here," said Rebekah Barnes.

Right now the fountain is paying the price.

"We're delighted people are fascinated with and using the fountain, but that use, actually being in the water is causing a filtering problem for us," said Paul Butcher, the City’s Director of Parks and Recreation

Butcher says contractors have a mess on their hands. The sprayers within the centerpiece aren't spraying as they should and filters are choked with debris.

But Butcher says a solution is in progress.

"We're going to get those filters up and running so the clogs and hair and pieces of wood chips don't cause the fountain to shut down,” Butcher said.

What remains to be seen is if the solution could include a compromise.

"We're adaptable. We'd like to do what our citizens want us to do. We're working on it," said Butcher.

Cooling off in this water is still technically against the rules, but as the turnout keeps up, the public has spoken.

"Kids. A hot day. You can't keep them apart," said Garelle.

Butcher says upper administration within the parks and rec office will discuss possible solutions Thursday and have a better idea of what comes next by the end of the day.


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