A bald eagle perches on top of the whale statue at Mayor Bill Overstreet Park on May 26, 2020. The pump rooms for the whale have been repaired after being damaged by flooding last October, but they will remain turned off for now to save costs and discourage gatherings. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

A bald eagle perches on top of the whale statue at Mayor Bill Overstreet Park on May 26, 2020. The pump rooms for the whale have been repaired after being damaged by flooding last October, but they will remain turned off for now to save costs and discourage gatherings. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Thar she doesn’t blow: Whale statue all fixed up, but will remain off for now

Cost-saving and crowd-prevention will keep the statue quiet for now.

The whale statue in Mayor Bill Overstreet Park is all fixed after heavy rains damaged the pump room last year, but it’ll remain turned off for now, said a City and Borough of Juneau Parks and Recreation official.

“One reason is to save on some costs this summer,” said Parks and Recreation deputy director Michelle Elfers in a phone interview. “Also, not to encourage large social gatherings.”

Once the pond was tested over the weekend to check the functionality of the newly repaired pumps, the water was drained again. Elfers said she was unsure of the total of savings that may be realized by keeping the statue’s pumps off.

“It’s in a quasi-winterized state,” Elfers said. “It’s being drained so the pumps aren’t running.”

A bald eagle takes off from the top of the whale statue at Mayor Bill Overstreet Park on May 26, 2020. The pump rooms for the whale have been repaired after being damaged by flooding last October, but will remain turned off for now to save costs and discourage gatherings.(Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

A bald eagle takes off from the top of the whale statue at Mayor Bill Overstreet Park on May 26, 2020. The pump rooms for the whale have been repaired after being damaged by flooding last October, but will remain turned off for now to save costs and discourage gatherings. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

The whale could be restarted with relative ease, Elfers said, if circumstances later in the summer allow for the statue to be turned back on.

The pump room was flooded during heavy rains in October, backing up a sewage line and damaging the electrical equipment with a tide of wastewater. Member’s of Juneau’s engineering department worked on repairing the damage over the winter, Elfers said.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) is in the fast Ice Jan. 2, 2020, approximately 20 miles north of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Senior Chief Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi / USCG)
Coast Guard heavy icebreaker retasked for Arctic deployment

The ship typically spends these months breaking trail to McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance

The most recent state and local numbers.

This July 17, 2017 photo shows the Governor’s Mansion. The Calhoun Avenue residence will be open for trick-or-treaters the evening of Saturday, Oct. 31. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Governor’s Mansion to open for trick-or-treaters

“Not even a global pandemic could stop this spooky-fun event!”

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. Coronaviruses, including the newest one, are named for the spikes that cover their outer surface like a crown, or corona in Latin. Using those club-shaped spikes, the virus latches on to the outer wall of a human cell, invades it and replicates, creating viruses to hijack more cells. (NIAID / NIH)
CBJ reports 26 new COVID-19 cases

None are in the homeless population.

Blank Unemployment Benefits formq
State cites tech woes for delay in increased jobless aid

Payments had been expected this week.

The Juneau Police Department, March 20, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)
This is a police car.  It has always been a police car.
Police calls for Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read