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Steep price for fancy San Pedro fountain

July 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Pedro has a new landmark. It's a large, Las Vegas-style water fountain, and most people seem to love it. Others call it too expensive. Here is a firsthand look at the splashy new addition to the harbor area.The Port of Los Angeles is not exactly known as a tourist attraction. Sure, the cruise ships dock there, but the waterfront is more of an affront. Until now.

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Set to debut Friday, July 25, are two massive black granite fountains holding nearly a half-million gallons of water. Water-jets, synchronized with music, launch spurts several stories into the air.

"It's a vibrant, elating show that brings pleasure and delight to people of all ages, to little toddlers and oldsters as well," said Claire Kahn, designer of the fountain.

Claire Kahn designed the fountains here. Her company also designed the water displays outside the Department of Water and Power building; the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; and most famously, the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

The San Pedro fountains are the biggest water feature in the entire state.

"Very, very nice. People should come down and see it," said Torrance resident Isaac Mizrahi. "The only thing I've got to say is if it's a little windy, down go down on the eastern side, because the sprays will get you."

The occasional dousing is one of the benefits on a hot summer day. The walkway between the pools can create the illusion that visitors are actually in the water.

But the appearance of walking on water comes with quite a price tag. It cost a reported $14 million to build these fountains. Some people are questioning the timing of spending that kind of money when the country is knee-deep in tough economic times.

"Kind of pushes the expenditure of $14 million for it in view of all the financial problems we're having in the state and the country," said Huntington Beach resident Berkley Yarborough.

"It is expensive, but I think it'll be a really nice thing for the port," said San Pedro resident Wendy Wolf.

It's certainly an upgrade from the usual sights in San Pedro. The all-too-common sounds of the port are now joined by a symphony of water and music, a high-class import to the port that didn't arrive in a cargo hold.

 

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