Crown Center visitors can still enjoy the fountains, they just cannot run through them any more.
The popular fountains are tested every month and just last week the water tested positive for bacteria, so it was immediately shutdown. Because of the hazard Crown Center has made a controversial decision to keep kids out of their fountains for good, effective immediately.
"We like to come down here and do the free fun family things and so we were kind of disappointed the fountain was shut down. We heard right as we were headed down here," visitor Wendy Onnen said.
Onnen's three boys were planning on splashing through the water fountain Tuesday, but there was no need for swimming trunks after all.
On Tuesday, Crown Center officials said because of larger crowds from attractions such as the Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center becoming a growing concern, the safety of adults and children playing in the Square Fountain increases the potential for accidents, or for exposure to waterborne health issues.
"I think it was good cause I don't want to get sick," said 8-year-old Nick Onnen when asked his thoughts on not allowing people in the fountain.
"In recent weeks, we have a couple of things have happened. No. 1, we've seen the number of people has increased more than it already was. This is a popular place, and we love that about it. The fountains having people out here is awesome, but the number of people, it was getting to where it was too much for this to handle," said Crown Center communications manager, Chris Ronan.
Ronan said the larger crowds from the new attractions means more kids heading to the fountains where they could slip or run into each other on the slick granite. In addition, the current filtration system simply can't keep the water clean.
"It's not a pool it's a fountain. It doesn't have the same system that a pool would have and so when you start hearing that there's bacteria in the fountain and anyone can get sick - a child or adult, whoever - to us that's not acceptable," Ronan said.
Eric Wright, who runs the Kona Ice Truck next to the fountains wonders how the change will impact his business.
"We will have to see, time will tell, and honestly I don't know what it will do," Wright said.
He hopes, with the fountains off limits, families feeling the heat will turn to his treats for relief.
"If they want to cool off, shaved ice will always be here. If there's no water to run through, we will never run out of ice. It's always an option for them," Wright said.
Crown Center plans to put up new signs and have more security out near the fountains, asking families to stay out of them. No one will be ticketed.
"We know this will disappoint many people who have enjoyed a run through the fountains on a hot summer day, but guest safety is our utmost concern," Ronan said.
The fountains will continue to operate, and will continue to offer periodic programmed water displays with music recorded by the Kansas City Symphony. In the long term, officials are hoping to change the layout of the area so people understand the fountains are to watch, not to get wet.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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