123-year-old Council Bluffs fountain ‘Old Rusty' to be refurbished - Omaha.com
Published Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 11:57 pm
123-year-old Council Bluffs fountain ‘Old Rusty' to be refurbished

COUNCIL BLUFFS — A historic Council Bluffs fountain will undergo a major restoration.

The fountain, now in a landscaped plaza south of West Broadway between Main and Pearl Streets, will be taken down over the winter months for the work, Parks Director Larry Foster said.

The City Council earlier this week approved the restoration plans, and now bids are being sent out to restoration experts for the work. Bids will be opened Dec. 19, Foster said.

The engineer’s estimated cost is $84,500.

“The restoration work is highly technical and sophisticated, and only a handful of places in the metro area can do this,” Foster said.

After the fountain is removed from its base, craftsmen will sandblast it to remove rust, Foster said.

Pieces that have fallen off the fountain over the years will be cleaned, painted and reattached, he said. Three coats of paint and a sealer will be applied to the fountain.

While the fountain is undergoing repairs, city crews will repair the plumbing and other underground utilities around the plaza as needed, he said.

New LED lighting will allow colored lights to shine on the fountain at night, Foster said. The iron fence around the fountain will also be spruced up.

The work is set to be completed at the end of June, he said.

Originally installed in Bayliss Park in 1890, the cast-iron fountain has been relocated several times, most recently in 1999, when it was moved from the historic Dodge House to its current location just west of the U.S. Bank building.

“The history of the fountain indicates that back in the 1940s, due to neglect and lack of maintenance, it was nicknamed ‘Old Rusty,’ ” Foster said. “Our objective is to see that it never again gets to that level of deterioration that it had back in the 1940s.”

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