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Fountain Day Kansas City ceremony to honor Anita B. Gorman

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Posted at 6:13 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 07:56:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A springtime tradition returns Tuesday morning when leaders in Kansas City, Missouri, flip the switch to activate city-owned fountains on what is dubbed Fountain Day.

Tuesday’s ceremony takes place at 10 a.m. at the Northland Fountain located in Anita B. Gorman Park. The ceremony will pay tribute to Gorman.

The 90-year-old was the first woman appointed to the city’s Parks and Recreation Board in 1979. She was also a founding member of the City of Fountains Foundation, a group which raises money to help the city maintain the fountains. Gorman is humbled by the recognition.

“I always felt like when you’re put here in this world, it’s your duty to make it a better place, if you can. Certainly the parks board does that for Kansas City,” she pointed out.

Throughout her time in Kansas City, Gorman fought to preserve green spaces and add fountains to the city. She said she would occasionally face criticism that money would be better spent elsewhere. But a conversation with a woman years ago reaffirmed her commitment to fountains.

“She said, ‘I want to thank you. It makes me feel better every time I go by it [the Northland Fountain].’ I think that is the strength of the fountains for the public, everybody likes them,” Gorman recalled. “You don’t have to be wealthy or smart or well-connected.”

Gorman’s list of contributions goes beyond fountains. She served on the Missouri Conservation Commission, supports Starlight Theatre, and more. Nature and the outdoors remain central to all her missions.

“To me, you can go to a wonderful movie, or you can go through a museum and see all these great things, but when you go outside and look at the sky and look at the heavens, we don’t compare,” she said.

Gorman hopes the fountains continue to draw people to nature.