Troubled Waters

The historic Capitol fountain has been standing sentry in front of our city’s most celebrated building since the 1920s, but empty symbolism has kept the water from flowing for years. This is one drought that we can actually do something about.

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the state has more concentrated land here than in any other city. Essentially, it can do whatever it wants on state-owned property. The problem is that this particular state-owned land is in the middle of our city. So the state’s indifference is negatively affecting Sacramento when it deprives us of a landmark fountain at our most visited tourist attraction.

So what’s to be done? If the state doesn’t want to tackle the problem, it should do what it did with the streets and median divides on Capitol Mall in 2005 and bequeath the fountain to the city, which is deeply interested in creating a vibrant Capitol Mall from the Tower Bridge to 9th Street. Why not let Sacramento take control of this last section of the mall (up to 10th Street) so that a unified vision of the mall can be explored?

If the state won’t budge on that, it should allow the city or private businesses (architects, pool builders) to get involved to help revive this civic treasure before Sacramento makes its national appearance as the first stop in the Amgen Tour of California bike race this May (in front of, you guessed it, the State Capitol).

In the end, Governor Brown should be more worried about a dysfunctional state government that needs eight years to fix a water fountain, and less focused on making a symbolic gesture about conservation, especially one that robs the capital city of an historic civic treasure while saving the aquatic equivalent of about a single toilet flush a day.

Just because the state is suffering from an historic drought doesn’t mean the city’s highest-profile water feature needs to as well.

It’s time to bring our picture-postcard fountain back to life.  S