Sunday, August 12, 2007

America The Beautiful Park...Fountain Follies

Waiting for the fountain to be fixed.


We have a beautiful new park in the Pikes Peak area called America The Beautiful Park. Named because of the view of Pikes Peak where Kathryn Lee Bates wrote America The Beautiful. The City has done a wonderful job planning this large park. It's highlight is a $1.6m fountain named for the wife of Spencer Penrose, one-time owner of The Broadmoor. The funds were provided by a philanthropic organization, donations, city taxes and state grant money. It is HUGE! Water drops from 344 jets that line the ring, is captured in a 13,000-gallon basin, treated and then recycled. The circle, or ring, revolves and frames Pikes Peak (when clouds are not covering it). Concerts and held here, as well as a farmer's market, and it is fast becoming a central gathering place for people and entertainment.





The problem came on opening day June 7, when the new fountain was dedicated. Within ten minutes of opening, a hordeof about 200 children (and some animals) descended upon the structure that soon became a prime wading spot. Almost immediately the filters became clogged with grass, dirt and pet fur which overwhelmed the fountain's water filters and clogged the water jets. It was back-to-the-drawing-board as City officials put their heads together to work out a solution. Many solutions were considered, including not allowing waders. Hah!! Good luck with that, I say. A new filter was installed for $20,000 and it took about $3000 to repair the fountain. A compromise was reached allowing people to wade in the lower part of the fountain, but not the upper edge.

Now, I say, what were they thinking when they designed this? Do you know what happens when children and water mix in the same area?" Enough said. As for me personally, I'm really not anti-children...I'm just "old" and want some peace and quiet in my old age. Is that too much to ask? I guess so. I've done my part as a den mother, school volunteer, mother, and now grandmother (funny how my own grandkids don't bother me??). I just want to go to a park, enjoy the scenery, a concert, a picnic, the bees, the flowers and more scenery. As large as this park is, you need to go pretty far to avoid all the kids that descend upon the it... I'm talking hundreds of children from local day care centers that use the park as their headquarters... I'm not kidding! I thought if I went there during the week it would not be so crowded... NOT. There is a huge state-of-the-art playground and covered picnic area, not to mention the fountain that the waders control. Yet, it is difficult to find a spot along the trail of cozy shelters and seats without running into yet another day care group or their leavings of smashed sandwiches and potato chips that are now large grease spots. Okay, I'll stop ranting before I get pelted with wet diapers. But, damn, I wish there was some place where adults could go for some peace and quiet (other than the old folks home). And I wish developers would allow areas for older adults as well as children. Rant over.


An attendant must now be on duty when the fountain is running to keep the public from climbing on the top concrete lip around the base.






There are walking and bike paths that wander along the edge of the park. They did a good job of installing some seating areas to get away from the main area of the park and enjoy the many native and xeric plants. That is, if you can find one without a day care group.



There are areas containing native grasses and stonework running diagonally. These were very distinctive and mirror the red sandstone formations found in this area. I loved this idea. It makes me think of mountains and grasses and how important they are to us. This is truly a beautiful park and spread out enough that you really can get away from the crowds if you wander away from the public facilities.

10 comments:

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Bev, I can relate. I live right next to the neighborhood play ground and the noise of unsupervised children screaming and being loud drives me nuts. All I want is a little peace and quiet when I'm outside.
The park is very nice, I hope they can keep the fountain running now.

LostRoses said...

Bev, not a very well-conceived fountain, is it? Aside from its unusual shape. But the surroundings are gorgeous and so typical of our Rocky Mountain scenery. That would be a place I would love to take my grandchildren to but I'd be afraid I'd lose one in the screaming horde of children!

Bev said...

Robin - I'm with you! Seems like I have always been very noise-sensative, so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. I love my peace and quiet.

LR - Yes, someone should have done a little thinking ahead of time. When they first built it they had announced that there would be NO wading in the pool. That should have given them a clue right there! It really is a beautiful park to visit and your grandchildren would really like it. The hordes usually arrive shortly before noon, and on weekdays. Now that school is starting I'm sure it will not be as bad. Weekends may be better too, although I've not been there then. You should make a trip down with them some day!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Bev, like you, I love peace and quiet even as a young girl I was not into noise.

My hubby and I moved to the countryside 6 years ago as the area where we used to live became rather overcrowded. If you went for a walk in the forest, there were more people there than trees. Not good.

I hope you can find a quiet spot or two in this beautiful park so that you can enjoy yourself!

jocelyn said...

Bev, my husband and I read about the new fountain just the other day. We both rolled our eyes in disbelief. The circular shape is stunning in its size and simplicity. Why the need to guild the lily? Can you imagine the amount of water loss through evaporation that that turning, free-fall of small water droplets creates? Good grief!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oooh... that diagonal stone work is beautiful. The whole park is, but the diagonal stonework is really hitting me for some reason.

MrBrownThumb said...

Love the park but and that fountain is amazing. It must look even better in person.

Btw if you like fountains with kids wading in them check out the latest fountain in Chicago.

http://www.millenniumpark.org/artandarchitecture/crown_fountain.html

it is fun but sometimes can be sort of like sensory overload with all the people.

Anonymous said...

LostRoses said...

Bev, not a very well-conceived fountain, is it?

On the contrary... it is an amazing design... especially with the 'curtain' of water within the ring and the chevron shaped stones...

Sure looks like a 'Stargate' to me... Curious its in a state that holds Cheyenne Mountain

Anonymous said...

I am with you on that "Peace and Quiet" issue... perhaps its time we lobbied for a few places for adults only for just that reason...

As a matter of fact I think I will use my website to start such a campaign...

LOL lost my password and had to post as Annoymous...

But one of my associates showed me that there are times when it IS peaceful... and I could easily imagine I am standing in front of a Stargate on some distant world...
http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj132/12_21_12/IMG_2740.jpg

I would like to use a couple of your images on our site Bev... Its non profit and all credits will naturally be honored with a link to this article
email standauffish@earthlink.net
Zorgon
http://www.thelivingmoon.com/

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