By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Since 1974, the fountain at the confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers has been the iconic mark of Pittsburgh, but now the fountain is a hollow empty shell.

“The last time the fountain ran was in 2009 for the NFL kick-off and G-20 summit,” says Matt Greene, manager of Point State Park.

However, he says construction on a new fountain is about to begin.

“Probably next week sometime the project will be bid out,” he estimates. “After that, we’re looking at mid-July for the contract to be awarded from the bidders who bid on this project.”

That means ground-breaking on the fountain project will be early next fall.

Lisa Schroeder at Riverlife says the fountain will be a new and improved version of the old.

“New LED lighting that will make it dazzle and will be energy-efficient and make it sparkle more than ever before,” she describes. “And also, with a new splash pool and a waterfall that will create a place where families and children can touch the water and really enjoy being out there on the rivers.”

Swimming is still a no-no, but people will now be invited to wade in the new fountain.

With new electronics, power, lighting, water pumps, and a more user-friendly plaza around the fountain, Point State Park says the new fountain can also better withstand inevitable flooding at the Point.

While there’s no firm date for completion, the state hopes to have Pittsburgh’s signature fountain up and running sometime by the end of 2012. They’re optimistic the construction will keep it up and running for the next 35 to 40 years.

Point State Park

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