Friends of the Electric Fountain Fund

After delighting generations of Denver citizens and visitors with dramatic water displays and dynamically changing colored lights at night, the Prismatic Electric Fountain in Ferril Lake at Denver City Park fell into disrepair, reduced to an unchanging display of water. Eventually even that display was shut down and the fountain was seemingly forgotten.

The Friends of the Electric Fountain was formed by Larry Kerecman to assist the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation to help bring this wonderful source of great family memories back to life. Working with Dick Gannon at the DPR on a volunteer basis, he helped get the reconstruction of the Electric Fountain vault included in the Montclair Storm Water Improvement Project. This saved a significant amount of money since Ferril Lake was drained for the Montclair project.

The new fountain vault, pipelines and the center geyser nozzle were installed and operating during the summer of 2007.

We celebrated the centennial of the dedication of the 1908 Prismatic Electric Fountain on May 30, 2008 with a demonstration of the first water features and lighting of the new fountain to be completed.

A total reconstruction of the concrete fountain vault, the labyrinth of plumbing and nozzles and multi-color lights brought back the Electric Fountain to all of its full 1908 glory and beyond. Fountain shows featuring the dramatic interplay of water and light returned to Denver City Park on August 19, 2008 when the 2008 Electric Fountain was dedicated with a crowd of over 700 people attending.

The Friends of the Electric Fountain Fund has been established to underwrite the cost of the final items needed to complete the new fountain and to establish an endowment to pay for the replacement of major operating equipment over the expected 75-100 year lifetime of the new fountain.

1
$19,500
Camera system for bandstand and vault
The control room for the 1908 Electric Fountain was located in the north tower of the pavilion. The operator saw the fountain features from the west side, which made it easy to distinguish the color of light coming from each of the eleven light funnels.

The control room for the 2008 Electric Fountain is located in the maintenance building on the north shore of Ferril Lake. This location was selected because of access issues with the pavilion and proximity to the pumps and fountain wiring.

This creates a problem for the operator designing the programs for the fountain shows because the view from the new control room is down the long axis of the fountain features, making it impossible to see the details of the display.

When the bandstand was restored in 2009, an enclosure was constructed for a camera to be mounted on the east side of the ceiling, which provides the perfect view of the fountain in operation. The fountain operator/programmer will then see this image on a monitor and use it to create more exciting and colorful fountain shows.

In addition, this project will fund the cameras in the fountain vault which will be used to monitor the equipment in the vault when it is not possible to physically access the vault due to bad weather and ice on the lake.
2.1
$29,500
Wigwam: six east/west spray bars
The water display called the Wigwam has two different sections but they both have the same form of alternating angle nozzles. The effect creates rows of undulating water spray across the fountain.

Both the north and south wings of the fountain have three east/west bars. The plumbing, valves and controls are all installed for this feature. The remaining project is to construct and install the manifolds and nozzles and then program the feature into the fountain shows.
2.2
$20,000
Wigwam: four radial spray bars
The water display called the Wigwam has two different sections but they both have the same form of alternating angle nozzles. The effect creates rows of undulating water spray across the fountain.

The center of the fountain has four bars radiating out from the center. The plumbing, valves and controls are all installed for this feature. The remaining project is to construct and install the manifolds and nozzles and then program the feature into the fountain shows.
2.3
$16,750
Wigwam: two radial "T" spray bars
The water display called the Wigwam has two different sections but they both have the same form of alternating angle nozzles. The effect creates rows of undulating water spray across the fountain.

The center of the fountain has two "T" shaped bars radiating out from the center, one on the west side and one on the east side. The plumbing, valves and controls are all installed for this feature. The remaining project is to construct and install the manifolds and nozzles and then program the feature into the fountain shows.
3
$7,500
Recorded music system
The Denver Municipal Band often played at the bandstand with the Electric Fountain displaying water and light shows in the lake. Later, recorded music was added to some shows, played from loudspeakers at the bandstand. The fountain operator would run the controls of the fountain to accompany the music.

The ACCESS software which runs the new Electric Fountain was designed to operate a "musical fountain" - water and light shows synchronized to pre-recorded music.

Since setting up loudspeakers each night is not practical, the new music system would use an FM transmitter to broadcast the music. Individuals could then receive the signal on car radios, Walkman type devices or even boomboxes.
4
$4,400
Enhancements to middle and outer spray rings
The middle and outer spray rings need some mechanical changes to the water distribution and drain system for optimum performance.
5
$250,000
Maintenance Endowment
The Electric Fountain will require periodic replacement of equipment that wears out from use. While the Denver Parks and Recreation department has funds for the operation of the fountain, there is still a need to provide for major equipment replacement.

An endowment will accumulate interest until the funds are needed to purchase replacement equipment. It will not be used for normal operation of the fountain or for small repairs. A 5 member board will authorize expenditures from this fund.

Please contact Larry Kerecman directly if you are interested in contributing to this endowment.

Thanks to the generosity of multiple individual donors and the Chambers Family Fund (recognized below) we were able to purchase and install the additional lights for the Peacock display and the intercom system. We plan to raise the money for the lightning detection and camera systems by the spring of 2010 so that they can be installed before the start of the 2010 Electric Fountain season.

A generous gift from Lou and John Robinson was used to purchase a complete set of maintenance tools for the Electric Fountain vault.

You may make a donation to the Friends of the Electric Fountain Fund through the City Park Alliance. Please write "ELECTRIC FOUNTAIN FUND" on the memo line of your check.

YOUR DONATION IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Remembering the Electric Fountain with a Legacy Gift will help keep this landmark operating for generations to come.

City Park Alliance is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to charitable and educational activities in City Park. Contributions to the Alliance are tax deductible and are used for the maintenance, improvement and preservation of City Park’s features for the enjoyment of all visitors and users.

City Park Alliance
PO Box 18177
Denver, Colorado 80218-9998

Fund Raising and Maintenance Endowment:

City Park Alliance: Roz Wheeler-Bell, Happy Haynes, Dennis Smith, Carolyn Lievers, Joe Mauro, Peggy Day
Thanks for all of your support. The City Park Alliance will process public donations to the Friends of the Electric Fountain Fund.

Chambers Family Fund: Merle Chambers, Letty Bass
Many thanks to Merle Chambers and the Chambers Family Fund for the first grant to the Friends of the Electric Fountain Fund. This gift will provide funds for the music system and other finishing touches for the fountain as well as the seed money for the endowment.

Denver Foundation: Sarah Harrison
The Denver Foundation is the home for the Friends of the Electric Fountain Fund. Their experience in setting up Donor-Advised Funds made them the perfect choice to help create this critical support system for future maintenance of the Electric Fountain.

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page last updated: 4/11/2010