Funds flow to fix park fountains

Money meant to spruce up Golden Gate Park has predominantly flowed to upgrades at the Music Concourse, and now more than $1 million more will go toward fixing four fountains.

The upgrades to the area, which lies between the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, began in 2005, and at least $9.9 million has been poured into projects that include widening the walkways, planting trees, fixing lighting, paving paths and restoring the historic bandshell.

In addition, four fountains in the concourse  stopped working a few years ago, and it will cost $1.1 million to fix them.

The upgrades to the area are overseen by the Recreation and Park Department and the Concourse Authority Board, a mayor-appointed board of seven members that started meeting in 1999. The agencies have approved the money to repipe the fountains in an effort to have them functional by spring.

The money for the project largely comes from funds allocated from Proposition 40, a state bond that was passed in 2002. From that state funding source, a $32,673,000 grant to improve 14 capital projects in Golden Gate Park was secured. It is that fund, along with private donations and grants, that has paid for the nearly $10 million in upgrades already made to the area.

Using more of the bond money for the fountain project had at least one Concourse Authority board member questioning the project.
“This was a full-source contract not put out for bid which drives up the cost,” board member John Rizzo said. “Especially now with the recession going on, the bids are coming in lower and it could have been cheaper.”

The fountains are not the first issue to arise in the Music Concourse. The rehabilitation of the historic bandshell ended with work having to be done again.

Initially, the sandstone stage on the west side of the concourse needed waterproofing because it was cracking, and it also needed to be retrofitted, but then the roof had to be replaced because chunks had been falling, said assistant project manager Dan Mauer.
“Imagine you retrofit it and then stuff starts falling off it,” Rizzo said.

Work is ongoing around the bandshell, he said.

The board is still discussing the plan to pave a concession area behind the bandshell to add places to eat and vend. That plan would use more money from the bond or need grant and private funding.

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