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SPECIAL SECTION

Downtown interactive fountain construction delayed

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Neil Johnson
Monday, September 25, 2017

JANESVILLE—Something to look forward to next summer.

That's the latest time frame for completion of an interactive water fountain that will be built along the Rock River as part of the public-private town square now under construction along South River Street in downtown Janesville.

Crews this fall are continuing to pour and stamp concrete, but the $400,000 interactive water fountain, which is being paid for through private donations, won't be built until spring.

Forward Janesville's charitable organization, Forward Foundation, has raised the donations it needs for the fountain, a series of sprayers, mist pumps and lights planned on the northeast side of the town square.

The group earlier this year said the fountain was slated for completion by September with enough time for it to operate for about a month before shutting down for the year.

That won't happen. The completion of the fountain area is now set for late spring or early summer 2018.

Forward Janesville President John Beckord said weeks of rain earlier this summer put crews behind on the landscaping, concrete pouring and construction of the terraced town square. He said the area where the water fountain is slated to be built is being used as a temporary “staging area” for ongoing construction.

Beckord said that makes it logistically impossible for crews to get a start on the fountain before winter curtails such work.

“It won't be done until the spring. There's just not enough time,” Beckord said. “The thought is if we can get going in early spring, it'll be done and open before summer rolls around. We have to always hedge our bet because we don't know what kind of weather we're going to get.”

Weather in recent weeks has been hot and dry, which has given crews more favorable conditions to work on the concrete-and-stone terraced areas of the town square that lead down to the river. Within the last month, contractors capped off work on a floating pier. It's part of about $1.2 million in project work that's only a portion of the improvements to come to a town square with boundaries roughly defined by Milwaukee, Court, River and Main streets.

The whole package is tied to the city's multi-stage ARISE riverfront re-development, but the fountain will offer a decorative element. It will include lighting timed to music and could change colors “thematically” for holidays such as the Fourth of July.

Beckord said next year as the city continues phases of town square work on the west side of the river the city and the Forward Foundation will work in tandem on a project to turn an adjacent section along South River Street into a “festival street.”

It would be set up to be closed to traffic during some local festivals and other functions.

Beckord couldn't give cost estimates, but he said the Forward Foundation would be funding “substantial portions” of that project.



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