Popular South Bay fountain hasn't spouted water all summer, city says repairs nearly complete

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The popular fountains at Downtown San Jose's Plaza de Cesar Chavez have been under repair since last winter. (KGO-TV)

The popular fountains at Downtown San Jose's Plaza de Cesar Chavez have been under repair since last winter. City employees told ABC7 News necessary repairs are almost complete, and the fountains and fun could start flowing in just a few weeks.

Normally, hundreds hurry to the plaza to splash through the surges of water on any given hot summer day. However, that part of the plaza has remained silent since wintertime.

"When it's hot out here and you want to come hang out in this park, it's somewhat unwelcoming without the fountains," neighbor Evan Mandell said.

Carolina Camarena with San Jose's Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services department explained a valve malfunctioned, flooding an underground vault where the fountain's pumps and electrical systems were kept. Again, the malfunction happened last winter.



"We waited for our residents and visitors to be able to enjoy the holidays and downtown," Camarena explained. "Then, once we were able to get into the vaults, we had to procure all of our equipment."

She explained the fountain specifically required a "3-face service utility vault." She compared that machinery to the "1-face service utility vault" necessary for a normal house.

She said the valve malfunction wasn't human caused. Instead, she pointed to normal wear and tear on the equipment.

Neighbor Evan Mandell expressed his frustration at the fountain fiasco, saying they had plenty of time to make changes and get the fountains flowing.

"It should've been done a month ago," he said. "I don't understand why they couldn't test it at the end of the winter even. And say, 'OK, summer's coming. We need to prepare for this.'"

Camarena explained testing should happen soon. She said the city is waiting on PG&E workers to re-energize the vault.

Once that's done, visitors will once again be greeted by the famous fountains that shoot water several feet in the air.

The city says testing should come soon, so visitors can go back to playing in these famous fountains before summer's up.

"Hopefully before the end of this month," Camarena said. "So that our visitors and residents can come back and enjoying the fountain."
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