Water fountain uncertainty continues to flow

It may be a while before people enjoying outdoor sports near the Cook County tennis courts, Community Center, and ball fields will be able to find a drink of water outside.

At the August 27 county board meeting, Commissioner Garry Gamble reported on his visit to the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) where he was told the city would not be interested in waiving the $1,000 hookup fee for a drinking fountain near the tennis courts. 

At the PUC meeting, Gamble was told that the old fountain near the tennis courts had leaked, frozen in the wintertime, and been vandalized.  City Water/wastewater Superintendent Tom Nelson had said the location that has been suggested might be too close to the fire hydrant. 

The board discussed the possibility of attaching a fountain to the outside of the current Community Center or the new YMCA in order to avoid a hookup fee and a monthly service fee. 

In order to avoid a hookup fee and monthly service fees, Gamble said, they could have had piping installed to the new YMCA building before the building and the driveway went in, but it was an issue of “the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing.”

Commissioner Martinson said he thought the fountain should go in the proposed location near the tennis courts.  It could be hooked up directly to city water from the street.

Commissioner Gamble also reported that Community Center Director Diane Booth has offered to write a grant for a fountain that will fill water bottles easily, unlike the fountain that was purchased several years ago for this location.  It has been in storage pending decisions regarding the new YMCA building and construction around it.

Gamble agreed to explore the issue to learn more about their options and bring the information back to the board.  “Let’s make a decision that we want to live with for a long time,” he said.