Some of the same problems plaguing the 47-year-old Government Center inside its walls are now showing some age outside the 12-story building .
One of the city’s largest fountains in front of the tower on 10th Street has been shut down until plumbers can install some new parts, said Pat Biegler, director of Public Works.
With crumbling pipes and other systems failing, the fountain parts are in line with needs city officials have faced with three flooding events since June 18 that left the 10th and 11th floors closed indefinitely. A recent review of damage indicated that it would cost almost $6 million to repair drain lines, fire sprinklers and other systems just to buy time until a decision is made on the entire structure.
Many parts in an old building dry out. Since the flooding, Biegler said her staff of four plumbers have been stretched thin when they have to cover the entire city with all the sprinkler systems, buildings and fountains. She said the plumbers haven’t been able to get to the fountain because of other priorities.
“If we have too many other plumbing issues or crisis going on, we just have to prioritize,” she said.
She is hoping a crew will get to the fountain in the next two weeks or later. “We’re hoping if things stay quiet to get the fountain repaired in the next couple of weeks,” Biegler said.
The director said she would prefer to have the huge fountain working because it does attract people to the location downtown. “I would definite prefer to have it running,” she said. “It cuts down on complaints and it is part of the scenery downtown. “
While it will take millions to eventually decide the future of the Government Center, I didn’t hear any estimates about the outside of the tower which may be a lower priority than the courts and government offices. Columbus was called the Fountain City long before the tower faced some setbacks with many systems failing.
Let’s hope the new parts will buy some time for the fountain just as the $6 million will hold the line until better days are possible on a new building.
If you have seen something that needs attention, give me a call at 706-571-8576.