Buckingham Fountain Renovation

We are gearing up to reveal to you our hometown best and worst designs. I think many people in Chicago will agree that Buckingham Fountain is not only a Chicago hallmark, but quite possibly one of their favorite Chicago designs. The Chicago Park District recently announced that the fountain will undergo $25 million in renovations to improve water flow and to stop leaking.

The Chicago Tribune reported that a majority of the work will be done to the outer basin, and the improved water flow may even increase the height at which the water springs forth from the fountain. Additionally, more trees will be planted, a new lighting system may be installed, and the crushed rock surrounding the fountain may be replaced. You can view the image below to see construction plans.

Chicago Tribune Image

The funding will come from the Park District, endowment fund, Lollapalooza, the city and possibly the state. According to the Chicago Tribune, we are seeing these restorations due to the fact that, “the added flash and flourish is meant to draw more visitors and impress the panel of International Olympic Committee.” Does the $25 million in funding seem a little unreasonable to anyone else? Will Buckingham Fountain ‘seal the deal’ for the bid? I think there are other, more obvious, practical improvements the city can make such as focusing on the Chicago Transit System (CTA).

On the other hand, I am happy to see that the water problems (leaking) will be alleviated and more trees will be planted in Grant Park…does anyone else want to weigh in? Am I off the mark here?

6 responses to “Buckingham Fountain Renovation

  1. I think it will take a little more than dressing up Buckingham Fountain to win the 2016 Olympics. Solving the recent increase in violent crime should be a priority and our governor has his own ideas…


    Improving CTA would definitely help with the 2016 Olympics bid and the city deserves to have better transportation anyway. Here’s one way the CTA is looking to improve…


  2. I am appalled that in their relandscaping the city cut down about one hundred of the coolest trees in Grant Park. The areas in the four corners where that are adding more trees were full of old trees that were planted shortly after the fountain was constructed. I don’t know what kind of trees they were but they looked like 15-20 foot tall bonsai trees. They had long low branches which created shaded private areas. They were like small surreal forests. When walking through them it was like you were in rooms with long low branch as walls. It was one of my favorite areas of Grant Park. If they wanted to do some relandscaping they should have incorporated the historic trees surrounding the plaza. It is a sad loss for Chicago. Buckingham fountains historic landscape is gone.

  3. I wasn’t happy to hear that old mature trees were cut down. However many such improvement requires changes to the surrounding. I hope the new trees will be just as beautiful. The renovation will definitely improve the overall image but Iagree with monkeybowl regarding the 2016 olympics

  4. none of the old mature elm trees were cut down on the fountain plaza in the renovation because they are protected historic elements and cannot be cut down. they were all stringently protected and remain there. there were some new Hawthorne trees planted as was in the original plan for the fountain plaza.

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