LEWISTON – City officials are hoping a smaller pump will help the Courthouse Plaza fountains flow.

Contractors are set to install a three-horsepower engine next week to power the pumps behind the plaza’s cascading waterfall. It will replace a 14-horsepower engine that threatens to overflow the fountain and flood the plaza.

“We found that we would have had to keep the water-valves 95 percent closed to operate the waterfall at the levels we wanted it,” said City Buildings Director Mike Paradis, “and running the fountain like that would just burn out the engine.”

The fountain was over-designed from the start, he said. Architects from Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc. designed the plaza, which was dedicated in July 2003.

Paradis said city crews tried adjusting the fountain to make it work properly. But opening the valves more than half-a-turn “sent water all over the place,” Paradis said. “Down the stairs, down the plaza, down to Lisbon Street. We just could not operate it like that.”

The designers had agreed to replace the pump, but kept rescheduling the work. Paradis said he received an agreement from the architects on Friday that schedules the work for June 8.

“We have an actual work order from a contractor in hand, so the work should be done,” Paradis said.

The city and L/A Arts combined to pay for the work on the plaza. The city paid $390,000 and the arts group paid $295,000.

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