New Report Finds Cascades Falls In Need Of $9.5 Million Renovation

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A new report finds the Cascades Falls, one of Jackson's most unique and well-known landmarks, is in need of some serious structural repairs.

The man made waterfall can put on quite a show with six large fountains and three reflecting pools, enhanced by multicolored lights and music.

"I think a lot of communities are known for certain things," said Brandon Ransom, the Jackson County parks director. "Jackson has the Falls and that's one of the landmarks that Jackson has."

This year, the Cascades Falls celebrated the 80th anniversary of its opening in May of 1932 - but that means some of the original parts of the Falls are 80 years old as well, and in desperate need of being replaced.

According to an engineering firm hired by Jackson County to assess the state of the falls, the Jackson landmark needs $9.5 million worth of repairs and renovations for the Falls and the surrounding amphitheater.

The parks department has had many concerns with the Falls in the past several years. For example, the fountains used to shoot water in time with music, but those controllers have gone bad and can't be replaced.

"Those types of things add up," said Random. "We have done what we can to be creative and fix things in a manner that makes sense from a budget stand point, but we're running out of ways to do that."

But for the time being, the county will continue to do everything it can to keep the falls running, and entertaining the community.

"The last thing I want to see on my watch is a closed sign in the middle of summer on the Falls," Ransom said. "Because something catastrophic has happened from a maintenance or operational stand point."

The Jackson County Parks Department plans to present the report's findings to the county Board of Commissioners in the first week of August. From there, the department hopes to get a conversation started in the community to figure out if the repairs are something the county wants to tackle, and how to get the funding for those renovations.

But at this point, the Cascades Falls are still open, the parks department will continue to operate it as best it can, for as long as it can. The Falls is open every night at 6 p.m. during the summer, with three big fireworks shows for Memorial day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Just last week, about 20,000 people attended the Independence Day show at the Falls. The last show of the season will be on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

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