|Updated: 9/25 5:25 pm
||Published: 9/25 4:50 pm
A new state-of-the-art fountain will be coming to Bartlett Square at Fifth and Main in downtown Tulsa soon.
The old fountain, which was built in 2005, was hit by drunk drivers five times. Now the city has awarded a contract for a crash proof fountain.
The new fountain will be built so that if somebody doesn't see it they will be able to drive over it without destroying the fountain, or injuring themselves.
"This was definitely a unique problem, and it took a little bit of thinking to get the solution we wanted," said Jeff Smith, who helped design the new fountain.
Smith said it will have two tiers, the first with a 5-inch curb, then a second with a 4-inch curb.
But the water jets themselves are underground.
"It'll have nine color-changing jets that will be in two rings in the middle of the fountain. And those will be on two separate pumps, so there will be variable heights, and they'll go up and down. And kind of all throughout the day it will be doing different things and changing colors," said Smith.
It will recycle water and use much of the existing plumbing to save money.
"If it's a windy day, it won't get that high. We've got some wind controls built in, and so it will prevent water from splashing out," said Smith.
"This whole roundabout's confusing even in broad daylight. So, anything they can do to not only make it look better, but make it easier to navigate, make it safer for pedestrians I think is a great thing," he said.
The new fountain will have led lighting all the way around that will make it easier to see which way a driver should go.
And while it will be safer, Heather Brasel, a Tulsan, thinks it still doesn't address the biggest issue of why a safer fountain is needed.
"If there's an issue around it, it shouldn't be the fountain. It should probably be addressing the drinking and driving," she said.
The contract says it will cost $448,000 to rip up the old fountain and build the new fountain.
And $92,000 of that will be paid with insurance money from the drivers who hit the old fountain, the rest from Vision2025 funds, that's tax dollars.
Justin Allison is all for building a fountain to make downtown Tulsa nicer, but he isn't convinced so much tax money should pay for it.
"$90,000 doesn't seem like a big enough chunk. I mean, that's an awful lot of money … to spend on a fountain. If more of it were coming from insurance dollars, that would be a different story, you know taking money from something bad that happened and using it for good. But that's a tough pill to swallow," he said.
He says he'd rather see the other $300,000 plus going somewhere else with a more direct impact on people's lives.
"I would say roads," he said.
Construction is scheduled to start at the beginning of next year and be completed by sometime in March.