SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — As part of the ongoing conversation over Utah’s drought, officials have decided to convert Liberty Park’s iconic Seven Canyons Fountain into a dry art feature, according to a press release.
More than five years after the city turned off the water to Seven Canyons Fountain for health concerns, officials have finally decided on the future of the 30-year-old artwork meant to mimic Salt Lake City’s canyons and waterways. Officials have now decided to convert the water fountain into a dry art feature, saying it was not feasible to update and restore it.
The fountain was originally turned off in 2017 due to health and safety concerns, with inspectors saying the water was contaminated by leaves, dogs, and children playing in the interactive fountain. In addition, parts of the art piece were designed with deeper puddles that are now considered a drowning hazard.
However, while it was originally closed for safety issues, the decision to turn it into a dry feature was influenced by today’s drought as studies found restoring the fountain would use 21,000 gallons of water per day.
“We’re looking forward to showcasing a renewed Seven Canyons Fountain as a way to continue the conversation about water conservation across the state,” Public Lands Department Director Kristin Riker said.
The updated fountain will maintain the vision of walking through the streams and canyons by using lighting enhancements, landscaping, handrails, and grass turf replacement, according to the press release.
The original designers — Boyd Blackner, Elizabeth Blackner, Stephen Goldsmith, and John Swain — have been included in the process of reimagining their work. However, it doesn’t appear they have completely given up on the artwork as a water fountain.
Blackner and Goldsmith said it was “a privilege” when Dr. Obert Tanner asked them three decades ago to “design a place for people to experience his love of water and join him in celebrating its life force in the valley.”
“Now, hearing of the decision to keep the fountain dry, we feel an even deeper responsibility to design a transition strategy, such that one day, the fountain might flow again,” they said.