Detroit Evening Report: Detroit City Council approves $5.5M to restore Hart Plaza fountain

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City of Detroit skyline and Hart Plaza.

Dodge Fountain at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit.

Detroit City Council voted on Tuesday to authorize more than $5.5 million to fix the Dodge Fountain in Hart Plaza. 

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The city will use pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to complete the repairs. 

LaJuan Counts, executive director of the city of Detroit Construction & Demolition Department, says the work was already contracted and approved by the city in September, but upon discovering the scope of the repairs needed, the contractor found it to be more cost-effective to subcontract out some of the work.

“The cost of the control work was more expensive than initially planned,” Counts told the council before the body approved the new contract, 8-1. “And there was more underground piping work that was required than initially had planned.”

Other repairs will include removing metal panels from the fountain’s dome, repairing jets, lighting and plumbing before reassembling the structure.

Counts told the council she expects the fountain to be in working order by April.

Councilwoman Angela Whitfield-Calloway, who represents District 2, voted against the resolution — adding that she’d like to see ARPA funds going toward restoring the historic Merrill Fountain in Palmer Park. At-Large Councilman Coleman A. Young II made a motion to make further analysis into the cost of restoring the Palmer Park fountain, as well into it’s historical significance in the city.

The renovations to Dodge Fountain mark the first efforts to restore it, originally dedicated in 1976. The fountain often provided a quick cool splash for young kids during the summer, but it hasn’t worked well for years.

Detroit officials reportedly wanted repairs made in time for the NFL Draft in late April, when hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the country are expected to come to town for that three-day event. 

Detroit Documenters Field Coordinator Noah Kincade contributed to this report.

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  • Jerome Vaughn
    Jerome Vaughn is News Director at 101.9 WDET. His interest in news reporting began when he was five years old, after his mom bought him a yellow Panasonic ball and chain radio.