INWOOD — After a $750,000 investment and more than a year of work, Isham Park finally has water — but some Uptown residents say that the project is all wet.
The goal of the work, funded by an allocation from former City Councilman Robert Jackson, was to install two drinking fountains as well as several irrigation boxes for maintenance in the park. Workers tapped into existing water mains on the streets surrounding Isham Park to run service into the park.
However, locals have reported that since the fountains were opened to the public a little more than a week ago, neither of them has worked.
On a Monday morning visit, the fountain near Isham Alley did not have a button to push for water. The fountain at the park’s upper level had a button, but it was not working. Instead, a steady flow of water leaked from the faucet.
The fountains also have spigots positioned lower down that are intended for use by dogs, both of which were working on Monday.
Some residents said they appreciated the idea of the project but were frustrated by the results.
“They put this there and now we can’t really use it,” said Iris Legrande, 60, of the fountain in the park’s upper level.
“It sure was a big production to end up with a non-working water fountain,” Scott Stearman said in reference to the construction, which started in May 2014.
Stearman, 49, said that some parts had turned out well, but that the project felt unfinished due to the non-working fountains and large patches of dirt that had been left exposed after the contractor cleared materials and equipment from the park.
Some took to a local Facebook group to share their concerns.
“Is anyone else mildly annoyed that the $250K water project for Isham Park has no working water fountain but a leaking water spigot?” wrote Karin Dando-Haenisch in one group.
Another Inwood resident offered a tongue-in-cheek suggestion.
“Perhaps we can drink from the dog bowl?” wrote David Alan in the same Facebook thread. “It works at least.”
The project was supposed to be completed in April 2015, but was delayed by at least two months.
A spokesman for the Parks Department told DNAinfo earlier this month that the delays were caused in part by the discovery and excavation of historic artifacts.
But at a June 2 meeting of Community Board 12’s parks committee, a representative from the Parks Department said the delay was caused primarily by problems with the project’s contractor, according to minutes from the meeting.
The representative said the contractor “failed to meet his contractual obligation and cannot afford to pay his employees.” The Parks Department had stopped paying the contractor until he finished the job, per the contract, according to the minutes.
However, a spokesman for the Parks Department said last week that the issue had been resolved and that work on the project had resumed by June 19.
The spokesman could not say if the problem with the contractor contributed to the non-working fountains.
The Parks Department said Tuesday that it is working on a fix for the broken fountains.
"Our contractors have ordered the replacement part for the drinking fountain, which should be prepared by the end of this week," a spokesman said.
Some residents said that even with the fountains not working yet, the project would have a positive impact.
“Bruce’s Garden will have water access and they are a huge part of the community,” said Tasha Antulob, 44. “If it helps them then it’s a huge plus.”