KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City has earned the nickname “The City of Fountains,” and now city leaders have a renewed focus on living up to the moniker.
The city manager wants all 48 of the publicly-maintained fountains flowing by April 10. The city refers to the day as “Fountain Day” because it is the day crews turn fountains on after being off during the winter.
“That's when we celebrate Kansas City coming back to life,” explained Pat O’Neill from the City of Fountains Foundation. “When the fountains come back on, we all kind of come back on.”
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department said this would be the first time in recent memory all the city’s fountains were on at the same time.
The city has set aside $1.5 million to help reach its goal. The money comes from GO bonds voters approved last year.
The money will be used to repair the Spirit of Freedom Fountain at Benton and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevards and the Delbert Haff Circle Fountain near Swope Parkway and Meyer Boulevard.
O’Neill said, ironically, water is a fountain’s worst enemy. Particularly during the winter, water in pipes and cracks freezes, then thaws, causing damage to pumps and pipes. He said you should think of the age of a fountain like dog years.
“These fountains may be 20 real years old, but they're like 120,” he explained.
Crews began work on the Spirit of Freedom Fountain last week. The Haff Fountain is next on the list. Each will receive new, more efficient pumps and LED lights.
O’Neill said Parks and Rec employees will be able to control the pumps remotely. He said they will use less water, saving the city money. The LED lights will allow the fountains to shine at night.
“It puts a whole new aesthetic on our fountains,” O’Neill said.