5-Sep-22 – Firing an arc of water across the Chicago River every hour, 16 hours a day, five months a year, since 1989, has taken a toll on Centennial Fountain.
The water cannon and waterfall on the north bank of the main branch, near McClurg Court, is switched off for the rest of this year and most of next year for repairs and upgrades.
Fore says a heavy rain in May 2020, in particular, caused the river to rise and submerge the fountain’s controls.
“The repairs needed were more extensive than originally thought, so we began to put together a plan for its refurbishment. The assistance of outside contractors for both the design and its eventual repair are required,” said Fore.
Designed by Lohan Associates, the Nicholas J. Melas Centennial Fountain was dedicated in 1989 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Melas was an MWRD commissioner who served for 30 years, including 18 years as president of the board of commissioners.
A time capsule installed in the fountain in 1989 will be opened in 2089.