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Gummed-up historic South Bend fountain getting repairs

October 30, 2021 GMT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana fountain that was restored a few years ago for more than $600,000 needs a plumber.

South Bend and a fundraising committee recently reached a deal to pay for a water softener at the Studebaker Electric Fountain, which is located in the city’s Leeper Park and is more than 100 years old.

Hard water has gummed up the fountain’s intricate fittings. South Bend is paying $50,000 while the fundraising committee has pledged $60,000.

The water softener is expected to be installed next spring. The fountain’s sculpted turtles and cherubs riding dolphins are plagued by plugged-up water spouts, the South Bend Tribune reported.

“I’m thrilled with the end result,“ said Vicki McIntire, chairwoman of the Friends of the Studebaker Fountain Committee, which had raised more than $648,900 for the fountain’s 2019 restoration.

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Over the winter, park workers plan to thoroughly clean the rusty, green minerals that have accumulated on the fountain’s metal sculptures and water lines, said John Martinez, director of facilities and grounds.

The 28-foot-tall fountain featuring colored electric lighting was unveiled in 1906, and was a gift from Studebaker Corp. co-founder John M. Studebaker.

The deteriorating fountain was removed in 1941. It went missing until recent years, when its remaining sections were discovered.