John D’Angelo was at the WaterWalk Waltzing Waters celebration Saturday night when he noticed something was not quite right.
It was probably not discernable to the rest of the crowd, said D’Angelo, manager of the city’s Arts and Cultural Services division. After all, music was playing and water was moving, but the fountains didn’t fan out like he knew they should.
“We saw problems on Friday and on Saturday night during the second show,” D’Angelo said Monday. “If you were looking at the program, it was gorgeous. It was beautiful weather. You had the lights and the water, and it was impressive.
“But knowing what should happen, there was a point where the waters are to come on and fan out and it wasn’t doing that. We knew then we had a problem.”
On Monday, Wichita city officials said the new fountains – unveiled to the public for the first time Saturday night – were undergoing repairs.
D’Angelo said a pump failed and tripped a breaker. Consultants, the vendor and city officials were trying to determine Monday afternoon what caused the pump to fail.
“Our commitment is to get it running as soon as possible,” D’Angelo said. “Unforeseen things happen. This is one of those things. We offer our sincere apologies that we weren’t able to get it to run easily.”
The fountains had been scheduled to run daily at 12:30, 8 and 9 p.m. D’Angelo said he hopes the fountains will resume their daily schedule by this weekend. He said the city will issue another news release when the fountains are repaired.
As part of the WaterWalk project, the city of Wichita invested $3.5 million on the fountains project, including $1.6 million to buy the fountains.
The fountains are 150 feet long and located east of Gander Mountain. The water fountains are synchronized to lights and music that includes country, classic rock, classical, 1980s rock and holiday songs. They are scheduled to run from April through December.
“We encourage people to see the fountains during the day, but it is most impressive at night,” D’Angelo said. “As soon as we get it fixed, we think people will really appreciate the display.”