CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a project with a price tag of six million dollars. But no one in Evanston can completely enjoy it yet.
The space is covered with blue tarps and orange barrels. Construction is months behind schedule.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has the story.
Fountain Square should have a fountain. It is the heart of the city of Evanston.
Five roads come together to form the plaza. It’s undergoing a multi-million dollar face-lift that should have been done eight months ago.
Peppered with café tables, dozens of new trees, sitting atop a plaza of two-toned bricks, Evanston’s six million dollar Fountain Square renovation has just one problem: its fountain is bone dry.
The project was originally slated for completion last December.
“The pipes bringing the water in and out did not pass the pressure test,” said Dave Stoneback, the director of Evanston Public Works.
Construction tape, workers’ trucks and orange cones now blemish the site. Crews from Lifeline Plumbing, Heating and Cooling have been called in to help remedy the situation and seal the troubled pipes.
“The worst case scenario would be they would have to dig up everything up and make it work,” said Stoneback. “I think that it would have been appropriate for them to pressure test the pipes before they poured the concrete.”
The city of Evanston is protected from paying for cost overruns by a clause in their agreement with the contractor. But local businesses beside the plaza, like La Macchina Café have had other issues impacting their business.
“A lot of debris flying on our patio,” said Kyle Lucki of La Macchina Café.
When the city awarded its contract to Copenhaver Construction, it chose the lowest of the bids submitted. Some alderman looking at the delayed project and a possible tear up repair, said there’s a lesson to be learned here.
“People expect the government to get the best deal and the best deal doesn’t always mean the lowest price,” said 4th Ward Ald. Don Wilson.
Copenhaver Construction said the project was delayed, in part, because the original plumbing subcontractor he hired was unable to correctly finish the job.
The company believes the fountain could be working as early as next week.
The city of Evanston’s request for clearance from the Illinois Department of Health to operate the fountain also contributed to the delay.