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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Fountains to be seen, not played in, city says

July 7, 2006

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Wednesday night's city band concert at the South Park gazebo was unusually dry.

Concerns about children climbing and playing in the nearby fountain caused the city to shut off the water during the concert and post signs warning people to keep away. During previous concerts, the fountain has been covered by a swarm of children.

"I don't quite understand why people think (the fountain) is a play feature when it's not," said Ernie Shaw, the city's recreation operations superintendent. "This is to look at, not to play in."

Shaw said safety was the main reason for the closure. He said at times children climb onto the slick granite bowl in the upper part of the fountain, creating potential for a serious fall.

In the past, city employees have found syringes left in the bowl of the fountain, he said. In addition, the water is recirculated water that's not meant for swimming.

Joseph Cliff, 9, and his sister, Iris Cliff, 14, both of Lawrence, play around the fountain Thursday in South Park. The city shut down the fountain during Wednesday evening's city band concert because it's a magnet for children, who might get hurt climbing in and around it.

Joseph Cliff, 9, and his sister, Iris Cliff, 14, both of Lawrence, play around the fountain Thursday in South Park. The city shut down the fountain during Wednesday evening's city band concert because it's a magnet for children, who might get hurt climbing in and around it.

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"It's not like a water feature at the pool," he said.

The water was turned on again after the concert, but the city plans to shut it off again for the remaining two band concerts of the summer.

"I can understand it from a legal viewpoint. ... As a parent, I think it's sad," said Erin Kennedy, whose 2-year-old daughter typically plays at the fountain throughout the concert.

Kennedy said one compromise would be for the city keep the water flowing but to post an employee nearby who could turn it off if someone climbed into the upper part. Typically, older children - some of them unsupervised - are the ones who do the most climbing and splashing in the fountain's bowl, concertgoers say.

"There was a girl there two weeks ago who was filling up a cup with water and offering drinks to the 2-year-olds," said Karla Hughes, who brings her two young sons to the concerts in part because they like the fountain.

Hughes said if the fountain is a problem in its current location, it could be moved to another area and replaced with a fountain designed for playing.

Shaw said he's open to the idea of so-called "splash parks" in the city but that "it all comes down to priorities and money."

The fountain, dedicated in 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt, originally was posted in the middle of Ninth and New Hampshire streets as a place to water dogs and horses. It was moved to a different spot in South Park in 1965 and to its current location in the late 1990s.

At Lawrence's other popular public fountain, the Chi Omega fountain on the Kansas University campus, there is no official prohibition against climbing in for a dip.

"Generally, we prefer you go up, take a look and move on. I think people treat it respectfully," KU spokesman Todd Cohen said. "We'd encourage people to come throw money in it."

Comments

Pilgrim 7 years, 9 months ago

Posted by spammer89 (anonymous) on July 7, 2006 at 8:37 a.m.

Ban fountains or put a round-a-bout around them.


Now there's an idea. That way the unsupervised brats can play in both the fountains and the traffic.

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planetwax 7 years, 9 months ago

My 2 year old was delighted by the fountain. I packed an extra change of clothes, a towel, etc. Boy, were we bummed that the fountain was turned off...really bummed. And, when the sign went up the second week, I felt even more disappointed, almost cheated. Then, I wondered how much that sign cost us taxpayers and who made the decision to shut off the fountain. After my little gal got over the disappointment, she started running circles around the sign, off and on, for the duration of the concert...as only a delighted two year old can do. I thought it was rather symbolic.

We want our concert fountain back. Please?

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frankzappa 7 years, 9 months ago

Posted by DonQuipunch on July 7, 2006 at 12:32 p.m.

Every idiotic "controversy" in this city seems to warrant a front-page story that would land in the "Fringe" column of another's city's newspaper. WTF is the deal with this place? Are we that bored? Are we that stupid?

===================================== i do believe we are that bored, and the Urinal World is that stupid.

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GardenMomma 7 years, 9 months ago

ljreader, the wading pool is still there.

All I have to say on this matter is: watch your kids. Period. It's the parents' job to keep the kids off the fountain, supervise them, protect them, love them, teach them, etc.

Supervise your children. That's your job as a parent.

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ljreader 7 years, 9 months ago

Everyone keeps saying "build a fountain for the kids". There used to be one at the kiddie wading pool across the street. It's been a while since I've been over that way. Is it no longer there? Or is it too much trouble for parents to walk their kids across the street?Catch me up.

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mistygreen 7 years, 9 months ago

Why do we have to forgo our enjoyment of the fountain and be penalized by turning the water off? Why do parents REFUSE to take responsibilty and supervise their children? What is wrong with parents today? Are they afraid to say NO? If they did, this town would not have to even contemplate turning off the water. Oh yeah, I'm one of those people that will tell your kid that maybe playing on the fountain wouldn't be a good idea. And yes that really does tick off the parent, but you know they get over it. If they don't like it too bad, it's only a suggestion. It's not like I'm telling their kid what to do.
They say it takes a village. But if no one in the village is willing to step up, who will raise the children?

With that type of mentality no wonder this town is so screwed up.

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DonQuipunch 7 years, 9 months ago

Every idiotic "controversy" in this city seems to warrant a front-page story that would land in the "Fringe" column of another's city's newspaper. WTF is the deal with this place? Are we that bored? Are we that stupid? Do we really require this kind of micromanagement by our city leaders? Why or why not? Who cares? I don't get it. I feel like I'm living in an issue of The Onion.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 9 months ago

some fountains are for playing some are for looking, this one is not for playing, people just tell your kids no stay off and maybe the rest of lawrence could enjoy the fountain during the concerts. I did say yesterday build a fountain for the kids to play in sounds real easy to me but no money boo hoo, but I bet if the commish wants something they will find the money for that.

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hurlehey_boy 7 years, 9 months ago

Remember when that drunk DU kid nakedly fell on the spire in the Kappa fountain? Thats something to be afraid of.

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BriarFox 7 years, 9 months ago

Yet one more thing for the city of Lawrence to have control of. We have lived here for about 14 years and one question I feel I must ask you....

What in the hell are you people thinking?

I guess all of you are ruled by fear. A sign could be put up saying city not responsible for injuries.

You are all are very obedient good little sheep!

Just a reminder..Lawrence Government works for YOU and not the other way around.

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Roadkill_Rob 7 years, 9 months ago

Lepchun wrote: "Please don't have any children, don't play with fireworks, go around the roundabouts the correct way, don't bild the highway. Little Russia has come to Lawrence."

So, for turning off the water fountains for safety reasons, putting up a few roundabouts, and w/ banning fireworks means that Lawrence=Little Russia? Man, I thought communist Russia meant the execution of millions of people. I was way off...maybe communist Russia wasn't so bad.

Thanks for enlightening me, Lepchun!

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Emily Hadley 7 years, 9 months ago

There's a reason why kids can scale fences quicker than they can climb a tree, they have more experience at it. Adults are dumb enough to think that 1. it will make what's inside look less-appealing, and 2. since they wouldn't bother to climb it, the kids probably won't either.

I walk by the fountain a lot, and I have never seen kids climb in the bowl alone, but I have often seen parents hoist up their toddlers and put them in it. Just like a thousand other times in my day, I have thought 'Wow, that's not too bright.'

This danger really doesn't stand up to the risk of, say, crossing the street to get to the park, so let's just leave parenting to parents and relax. They've sucked at it for hundreds of thousands of years and they will continue, no matter what. Maybe on Earth Day the Lawrence schools can mention how we conserve water treatment by using icky water in fountains, but geez, let it go there. It isn't a big deal.

We don't need more cops in the park than there already are. They circle it just to go out on shift as it is, and hang out on the edge to do their paperwork.

There's already a fence around my favorite childhood deathtrap, ol' 1073, haven't we done enough??

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n8n2010 7 years, 9 months ago

back when i was a kid, we didn't have fancy fountains to splash in and pretty fireworks to blow up. we had puddles of MUD and twinkling COALS from the wood stove, and that's what we had and we LIKED it!

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Redzilla 7 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, what happened to the old folks who used to shout, "Hey, you kids get off of there before you break your fool necks"? Oh, wait, we became them....Guess it's time to take up our old folks' duty.

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as_I_live_and_breathe 7 years, 9 months ago

try Mr. Bubble. It goes nuts and leaves no ring!!!!

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sandrat7 7 years, 9 months ago

we used to use that laundry detergent tablet in the chi omega fountain. liquid dish soap foams up really well in a fountain, too.

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as_I_live_and_breathe 7 years, 9 months ago

Posted by geekin_topekan (anonymous) on July 7, 2006 at 6:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Is the money issue a matter of liability? Any one who votes republican should sign a waiver with the city before allowing their kids to play. Democrats already know that the world is a dangerous place,God watches and stuff happens.

lol I thought Democrats didn't belive in God and their mission is to STOP all dangerous behavior by promoting abortions until there are no nasty humans left.????

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irishblues 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree with kookamooka. I was reprimanded as a child by any adult who saw me do something unsafe. And I responded. Try that today and you'll get a lawsuit and snide comments from the parent and the child. We played in fountains, shot fireworks, and sang the National Anthem, can we still sing the National Anthem on the 4th? Or will that offend someone?

And I forgot was it liquid or powder soap that made the most suds when soaping a fountain. I kinda need to know before this weekend.....:)

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irishblues 7 years, 9 months ago

Parents, watch your children...move the fountain and put in a small splash fountain (yes, like the one a crown center) and make the darn park interactive for kids and adults alike. Take the dough from the study to bring new biz to lawrence. Be better spent.

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small_fish_in_small_pond 7 years, 9 months ago

I guess none of you would recognize that this is a liability issue. And I'm sure if you have kids, that you wouldn't hesitate to sue the City if they were hurt.

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gphawk89 7 years, 9 months ago

Why pay to have a policeman or city employee to stand in front of the fountain for hours telling kids to "keep off"? It's a lot easier to just turn the thing off. If parents would properly supervise their kids, and teach them a bit of common sense, this wouldn't be an issue anyway.

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Kookamooka 7 years, 9 months ago

Why not set up a few sprinklers around the park for the kids to run in. The lawn gets watered, the kids have fun. I was concerned about the kids IN the fountain, too. In the olden days, the grown ups would have said something to the older kids. Like..."Honey, I really think it isn't safe to sit up there, you should come on down." And parents used to support each other when a grown up would help a child make a safe decision. Now there are lawsuits. Raising my kids "isn't your business" but in the old days it was everybodys business to see that kids were safe and happy.

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spammer89 7 years, 9 months ago

Ban fountains or put a round-a-bout around them.

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reginafliangie 7 years, 9 months ago

1000 cops? Really, mmmm I thought it was more along the lines of about 10 to 15 a shift....Wow I was way off.

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cutny 7 years, 9 months ago

Jeez, there's only about 1000 cops in town, I can't imagine that one of them can't stop cruising the mean streets of Lawrence long enough to stand in front of the fountain during the concerts. They think nothing of having 50 of them direct traffic on a game day.

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neopolss 7 years, 9 months ago

A small play fountain would be cool. If anyone has ever went to the free concerts at Crown Center, that's what I'm thinking of.

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Bobbi Reid 7 years, 9 months ago

I think that splash parks would be a great idea, why don't we spend some money on our kids, instead of building roundabouts, and banning fireworks...

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Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

I have to wonder, in all the years that fountain has been there, and all the concerts that have been held, and all the other days where the fountain has been running, how many kids have actually ever been hurt by playing in water? Jeez, what a bunch of killjoy nannys. Just turn it off, pad the sides, and fill it with anti-bacterial nurf balls.

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blessed3x 7 years, 9 months ago

No lepchun, "progressive" liberals have come to Lawrence. It's a far more dire prospect.

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lepchun 7 years, 9 months ago

Tiger and Bear and Children oh my. Please don't have any children, don't play with fireworks, go around the roundabouts the correct way, don't bild the highway. Little Russia has come to Lawrence.

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ljreader 7 years, 9 months ago

I've seen kids sitting up in the bowl part of that fountain. The idea of the City paying an employee to stand nearby, as suggested by a mother in the article is a bad idea. The park has a kiddie pool across the street- go there. Parents should use a little common sense and supervise their own kids. Besides, my dog DRINKS that water.

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billyflay 7 years, 9 months ago

it's all about profits, if the future undisiplined liberals are allowed to play in the fountains, they are not going to the pool and spend their mommies welfare check money,

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geekin_topekan 7 years, 9 months ago

Is the money issue a matter of liability? Any one who votes republican should sign a waiver with the city before allowing their kids to play. Democrats already know that the world is a dangerous place,God watches and stuff happens.

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sweetpeagj 7 years, 9 months ago

comes down to priority and money..hmm I guess if they thought they needed a dang roundabout niether of those would be an issue but putting in a splash park for the kids would just drain the city budget.

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Dave McClain 7 years, 9 months ago

"found syringes left in the bowl" Sounds like a place I want my small children to play in, splash, and drink the water from. Come on folks, supervise your kids.

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simplifying 7 years, 9 months ago

What would Teddy Roosevelt say?

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BrianR 7 years, 9 months ago

So I can water my dog and horse there and that's ok?

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Kelly Powell 7 years, 9 months ago

let them feed the squierls....They probably have leprosy nowadays.

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plumberscrack 7 years, 9 months ago

YEP. Let them play in the streets instead.

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