Fountain to be built in Suwanee

LAWRENCEVILLE - Move over Mall of Georgia. Watch out Centennial Olympic Park. Suwanee is building a fountain at its Town Center Park that will rival your water spouts.

Several years in the making, the "interactive fountain" with 43 jets of dancing water should open in time for children to play in it this summer, said Suwanee Mayor Nick Masino.

"My three kids and the rest of the kids in Suwanee are really excited about it," Masino said Thursday, hours after the city received two bids for the project.

With 43 water spouts ringing a 100-by-70-foot area, the fountain will be larger than the one at the Mall of Georgia, said Suwanee Community Development Director Marty Allen.

Like that fountain and one at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, the Suwanee fixture will have jets of water that dance around. Unlike those, it will not have music, although that could be added later, Allen said.

Regardless, the fountain will serve as a focal point for the 10-acre Town Center Park that opened at the corner of Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road in 2004.

"This is an amenity or feature not found elsewhere in Suwanee," Allen said. "It will provide a community activity or another reason to go to the park."

If the popularity of other fountains is any indication, Suwanee's will draw a crowd.

A fountain on the town green in Duluth lures children and their parents any time the weather is warm enough to run through the numerous water spouts.

And at the Mall of Georgia, parents use the fountain as a reward for children who behave while they shop, said the mall's director of marketing, Joshua Zimmer.

Details on the size of the mall's fountain were not immediately available, but Zimmer said its jets shoot water 25 feet into the air, and it is not uncommon to see more than 20 kids frolicking in it wearing bathing suits during summer months.

"It's a huge attraction here," Zimmer said.

The mall fountain is capable of much more, including shooting water 60 feet into the air, but several features are never used because of liability issues, Zimmer said.

Messages left at Centennial Olympic Park were not returned, but its Web site said its fountain has 252 water jets that dance rhythmically to a variety of musical selections.

Allen said the Suwanee fountain will not be as big as the one at Centennial Olympic Park, but it will rest in the center of a 6,000-square-foot landscaped plaza with benches.

Two bids were received Thursday, and one of the companies will be selected in coming weeks to build the fountain.

Site Technologies Inc., of Roswell, submitted a $796,000 bid, while Valley Crest, of Norcross, turned in a $646,000 bid, Allen said.

Plans call for the plaza to have large granite tiles, but some aspects of the project could be trimmed because the bids came in higher than expected, Allen said.

A fundraiser was held for the fountain almost two years ago, and residents contributed about $70,000 at one event alone. Other fundraising activities, including letting people sponsor trees and benches at the park, have raised another $135,000 for the fountain, Allen said.

Efforts to contact Duluth late Thursday afternoon about its fountain were unsuccessful.