Westchester County Executive George Latimer, in one counter-clockwise maneuver of a lever, planted firmly into the ground at Croton Gorge Park, turned on the historic 20th century fountain. The spray of nearly 20 feet of water, shot up into the clear blue sky, as passers-by applauded and took pictures. The fountain has not been on in nearly a decade, after maintenance and reconstruction of the Dam.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “Our local parks are truly a gem for people who live here and a treasure for people to discover when they visit Westchester County. The strength and success of our parks, including Croton Gorge Park, is critical to our strength as a County. What New York City has done in protecting the drinking watershed has been essential to the success of Westchester County as well.”
New York City Department of Environmental Protection, owns the Dam. The fountain along with the Dam were built back in 1906. Croton Gorge Park became a Westchester County Park during the 1960’s.
New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said: “New York City has been happy to collaborate with Westchester County to activate the fountain in Croton Gorge Park for the first time in roughly a decade. As more families participate in outdoor recreation and utilize our parks, the city and County play the important role of keeping these outdoor spaces accessible, beautiful and inviting. What better way to improve a great park like Croton Gorge than turning on this fountain and giving our neighbors another great reason to visit.”
The fountain operates from the head pressure of the reservoir being so far above the fountain so there are no pumps. The water is piped through the Dam, underground to the fountain, and the overflow drain goes right into the Croton River. Major repairs have been made to the Dam over the years including the installation of railing around the fountain.
During the height of the pandemic, Croton Gorge Park saw a record number of visitors, so much so, County police were called in to assist in regulating parking.
Westchester County Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathleen O’Connor said: “People have found parks to be very healing and naturally essential during this pandemic, and to be able to turn on the fountain after ten years is just another great symbol of coming out of the dark.”
Croton Gorge Park is located at 35 Yorktown Road in Croton-On-Hudson and is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to dusk.