By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — The Henry Ford Centennial Library fountain has an uncertain future.
The landmark on Michigan Avenue, which welcomed visitors since the library’s opening in 1969, has been inoperable since August, when its motor broke, Library Director Maryanne Bartles said.
While the fountain sits on the library’s property, the decision of what to do with it essentially rests with city officials, Bartles said.
“The library will have input in terms of what they think is a good idea or review future plans for the fountain,” Bartles said. “The final decision rests with Public Works, the City Council and the mayor.”
Other troubles with the fountain include non-operative pumps, a broken computer system that operated the fountain, and floor leaks.
Jim Murray, director of the city’s Public Works Department, said it costs $75,000 to maintain the fountain annually and it could cost about $750,000 in repairs, according to published reports.
Public Works Department officials asked URS, a national consulting firm, to complete a study on the fountain to see how much it will cost to restore the fountain and its design and find viable alternatives.
“It wouldn’t be right to build something and not have the money to take care of it,” Murray said.
Funds for the fountain might come from individuals who want to donate monetarily, grants, or tax dollars set aside that City Council will use for repairs, Murray said.
“It is an important structure and it needs to be taken care of,” Murray said. “The council and the mayor are trying to come to grips with what they would recommend and how it would be paid for.”
Public Works Department officials are unsure of when URS will complete the study.
Murray said he is looking forward to public input when the study information becomes available and fountain projections are better defined.
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])