The fountain outside the Hennepin County Government Center was open for coin-plopping business before Memorial Day, beating expectations following repairs that had delayed its seasonal debut.
The 44-year-old pool and fountain in downtown Minneapolis is normally refilled in spring. But that had been delayed to fix a bubble underneath the structure’s surface.
And while officials had said water would resume flowing after Memorial Day, the fountain’s eight spouts were gushing before Monday’s holiday.
“Streets get potholes. We get bubbles,” said facility services director Michael Sable.
The fountain and surrounding plaza on the north side of the Government Center are popular downtown gathering spots, with a food vendor and music during the warm months. A farmers market is held on Thursdays on the center’s south plaza. More than 10,000 people walk through the center’s skyway level each day.
The fountain also greets streams of Metro Transit light rail passengers at the station between the Government Center and Minneapolis City Hall.
The county intended to fill the fountain more than a month ago, but workers on May 15 discovered a bonding problem with material between a waterproofing membrane and the pool’s concrete surface. This did not appear to be related to the fountain’s $3.5 million renovation in 2016.
The county spends about $23,000 a year to maintain and operate the pool and fountain, which have caused problems for decades for the offices below. Leaks have been common on the circular glass “curtain” around the oculus.