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Long overdue overhaul comes to Lincoln’s Cascade Fountain

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 9:08 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It’s a project the people of Lincoln chose. Thousands made their voice heard in a survey put out by the city to determine the Bicentennial Cascade Fountain’s fate.

The most popular, and ultimate winner, leaves the fountain in the same spot - 27th and Capital Parkway. Voters chose to revamp the area that surrounds it.

The first step in that renovation started on Wednesday afternoon.

First, crews are starting with a semi-demolition, fixing whats underneath the fountain. The City of Lincoln said this will be done before surface changes get underway.

“Tearing out the old materials, the old basin that surrounded the fountain tower,” said J.J. Yost, the planning and facilities manager. “To get it out of the way to put in the new, and the new mechanical systems.”

When it’s all said and done, the city said it wants to make the space feel more visitor-friendly.

The most noticeable change is converting the area that was previously concrete, into more natural and grassy features.

“Benches and tables and shade structures,” Yost said. “Just to have a better area to picnic and enjoy the fountain itself.”

It’s a $1.6 million project, funded mostly by donations. Over 400 people have contributed in one way or another and the City of Lincoln plans to provide a $500,000 matching Challenge Grant.

“We’ve had some large gifts. We’ve had some small gifts. We’ve had participation at all levels,” Yost said.

The fountain was originally dedicated to teachers. The revamp aims to reaffirm that with dedication bricks to honor former favorite teachers. It’s a majority of where the donations have come from.

“Even after people see the final project they will be willing or interested in recognizing a teacher,” Yost said. “That will help build the endowment to help take care of the fountain going forward.”

The city says that the project will take about a year to complete and that the fountain will be flowing for the Spring of 2022.

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