Just in time

City will re­pair land­mark be­fore July 4

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Ryan Gille­spie Staff Writer

for fire­works on the Fourth of July — a brighter Lake Eola foun­tain.

The iconic Lake Eola foun­tain has had a dim­mer glow lately, but that won’t last for long.

While park reg­u­lars may not have no­ticed, 32 per­cent of the foun­tain’s un­der­wa­ter LED lights have failed with the po­ten­tial for more to go out soon, city of­fi­cials said.

So the City Coun­cil gave the green light last month for $343,849 in re­pairs for the foun­tain — per­haps Or­lando’s most pho­tographed land­mark, which is lit up to honor dozens of or­ga­ni­za­tions and causes through­out the year.

Crews will in­stall 220 col­ored lights and a dozen white lights to have the foun­tain shin­ing brighter than ever be­fore, said David Dunn, city fleet and fa­cil­i­ties man­ager.

“They’re un­der­wa­ter con­stantly,” he said of the lights. “The lights we in­stalled in 2011 were cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy, [but] over time it’s in­evitable that with the sun beat­ing down on them, you’re go­ing to get some wa­ter in­tru­sion in them.”

Or­lando doesn’t plan to have the 60-foot-tall foun­tain pow­ered down at night, with crews due to re­place the lights pe­ri­od­i­cally as part of monthly main­te­nance. The city’s goal is to have the foun­tain com­pletely re-lit for the an­nual Fourth of July cel­e­bra­tion.

Dunn said col­leagues in Las Ve­gas told him that re­plac­ing foun­tain lights typ­i­cally is needed ev­ery five years. How­ever, the Ger­man-man­u­fac­tured fix­tures are con­sid­ered the best on the mar­ket so they may have a longer shelf life.

The job will be done by San­ford-based Freeport Foun­tains, which works on lo­cal foun­tains at the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Florida’s Re­flect­ing Pond and 10 on Dis­ney prop­er­ties — in­clud­ing re­sorts and even a laun­dry fa­cil­ity — as well as in­ter­na­tion­ally at places such as Bac­ardi In­ter­na­tional’s head­quar­ters in Ber­muda.

The com­pany also over­hauled the Lake Eola cen­ter­piece in 2011, when it had a $1.5 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion.

That project in­cluded a new frame, as well as light­ing, pumps, pip­ing and elec­tri­cal con­trols.

In 2009, light­ning struck the foun­tain, zap­ping a sys­tem that was al­ready ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems.

In­stalled in 1957, the city show­piece was dubbed the Cen­ten­nial Foun­tain to cel­e­brate Or­lando’s 100th birth­day.

But in 1965, then-Mayor Bob Carr changed its name to

the Lin­ton E. Allen Me­mo­rial Foun­tain in honor of its founder.

The up­com­ing work on the 61-year-old foun­tain also will add new color op­tions, so the con­trol­ling mech­a­nism is also be­ing up­graded, Dunn said.

“Peo­ple get ac­cli­mated to what they see, so that’s why peo­ple haven’t no­ticed,” he said of the weaker glow. But he added, “if they no­tice any­thing [dur­ing the work], they may per­ceive it’s a lit­tle brighter.”


Crews will in­stall 220 col­ored lights and a dozen white lights to have the Lake Eola foun­tain shin­ing brighter than ever, said David Dunn, city fleet and fa­cil­i­ties man­ager.

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