KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The play fountains at World’s Fair Park and Krutch Park in Knoxville are closed for repairs.
City officials say the World’s Fair Park fountains are leaking more than 5,000 gallons of water per hour. The system consists of 75 individual spray fountains and around 280 underground pipes. Several leaks have already been identified, but there is still a major leak left to find.
“We were losing massive amounts of water with this leak – so much so that we could fill a pool in only a few hours with the water lost,” said Jayne Burritt, Public Building Authority Administrator and CEO. “Our team is working diligently to reopen the fountains as soon as possible.”
The closure comes ahead of the park’s peak season, leaving park visitors disappointed.
“I think it’s extremely disappointing,” said Toni Shumaker. “World’s Fair Park is one of our favorite landmarks. Everyone loves to come down here. Even if you’re not getting into the fountains, it’s just fun. You feel like you’re part of a party when you come down here. It’s just great, free entertainment, exercise for the kids and it’s just heartbreaking that it’s not working.”
“I’m feeling pretty sad because there are usually a lot of families who are running through the fountains,” Aaron Proctor said. “And me and my friends we come out here and work out a lot and we like to refresh ourselves in the water and I can’t believe that it’s closed.”
The fountains served as one of Knoxville’s most popular tourist attractions since it first opened 2002, offering a fun place for families to play and cool off.
“It’s a pleasurable thing,” Elizabeth Wrede said. “It’s good to bring the kids out and play and get them outdoors. It’s just pretty. I like the sound of rushing water and it’s just nice to come on your walk to have it.”
Chris Gallop, zone supervisor for World’s Fair Park Public Building Authority, said he hopes the fountains will re-open by the July 4 weekend.
“I wish they would speed it up and get it going sooner, but things happen,” Wrede said.
Until then, all parkgoers can do is wait.
“We love to come down here and to not have the fountains here, there’s a part of Knoxville that’s missing,” Shumaker.
Gallop said crews are currently working on above ground repairs, which will cost about $20,000 from the operating budget. Then in October, construction will begin with underground repairs, which will require crews to dig below the surface, seal concrete and line damaged pipes. This project is estimated to cost about $30,000.
Leaks have also been found at the fountains in Krutch Park, but they are much less extensive and they are expected to be back in operation in three or four weeks.
The other two play fountains located at Market Square and Volunteer Landing remain open. Hours are typically 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.