The City of Evanston Wednesday announced that it now anticipates it will cost $5 million to repair and reconstruct the fountain in Fountain Square downtown.

The city says it issued a demand letter to the fountain contractor, Copenhaver Construction, Inc. last week seeking to have it cover the cost of the repairs.

The fountain has been turned off since Spring 2021 and will remain off this year.

In a news release, the city says problems with the fountain were discovered when city staff tried to turn it on for the 2021 season and discovered that it was unable to retain water.

It adds that a forensic engineering study conducted by a city consultant concluded that Copenhaver installed incorrectly sized waterstops inside the fountain and did not follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation, causing water loss of up to 4,536 gallons per day.

It says Copenhaver also failed to submit the waterstops to the City or its engineering consultant for review or approval prior to installation.

The city statement says extensive repairs will be needed to fix the issue — including removal and replacement of granite pavers, existing mechanical systems, electrical systems and concrete substructure.

It adds that the city plans to budget for the fountain repairs in 2023 as it pursues reimbursement from Copenhaver.

The city awarded the original $5.9 million contract to renovate Fountain Square, including building the new fountain, to Copenhaver in March 2017.

The plaza areas around the fountain will remain open this year and Downtown Evanston is planning a variety of events for the square.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. I had an office near Fountain Square for several years during the time that it was renovated and done. One could tell that the fountain did not operate properly. It was rarely turned on.

  2. Copenhaver is the same company that is currently reconstructing the Central Street Bridge. The city should take a look at how these projects were awarded. Look out below!

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