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

By: Caroline Vandergriff Email
By: Caroline Vandergriff Email

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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  • by Anonymous on Aug 15, 2012 at 09:23 AM
    Some people have nothing better to do than post whining negative comments on blogs all day. This is a historical landmark donated by a man that locved his community and had pride in Jackson. I ask all of those who disagree with the falls - do you ever visit museums, historic landmarks, historic buildings, parks, or even attend local school sports events? Well all of those things are gone without public and private funds... We can only assume that the negative comments are coming from perpetual complainers that do nothing all day. Say your peace and move on - or maybe look for employement... that is a novel idea!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 14, 2012 at 09:27 AM
    For $10 million, they could rebuild it with more energy efficient items.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2012 at 09:27 AM
    The part that really bothers me is that they charge $3 dollars for entrance. If they took the concept of the Air zoo in kalamzoo, of donations only, they would have the surplus. When people realize that community treasure is for all to see not just the ones who can afford the admissions, people tend to give more for those who can not give.
  • by Wow on Jul 13, 2012 at 04:32 AM
    What everything isn't political? Guess again!
  • by Joshua Location: Jackson on Jul 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM
    Hire scab workers. Have them mix concrete in wheelbarrows instead of cement trucks, use hand tools instead of power tools, save millions of $$. Heck, even hiring the Amish could save tons of money.
  • by reply to WOW on Jul 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM
  • by Michele Location: Jackson on Jul 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM
    It would be a shame to have to close them, I would hope the community could chip in if they cannot come up with enough grant moneyor other funding. I remember them from my childhood and how much fun it was to go and all the steps, the colored water matching the beat of the music. It is too, too special to just lose.
  • by James Lo on Jul 12, 2012 at 09:33 AM
    No, and to even consider using tax payer money at this point is criminal. Open a donation drive that the people with a few million laying around who may care about the fountain can spend the money on it.
  • by Betsee Location: Eaton Rapids on Jul 12, 2012 at 09:18 AM
    How can you say it's well known when I'd never heard of it? I've lived in Michigan all my life, and I'm 41. I've lived in ER since '07. Never heard of this fountain before. Ever. Maybe if you advertised it a little bit???
  • by Melissa Location: Jackson on Jul 12, 2012 at 05:14 AM
    Cascades is a beautiful and irreplaceable part of Jackson. The City Council should certainly look at ways to raise money to help not only repair but improve the wonderful park that we have available. Jackson has few things available to our youth, the park with all of its amenities is one thing that is nearly free, and should be taken care of. I hope to see more about this in the near future.
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