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Restoration Begins For Historic Kansas City Fountains

photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR
The 1899 Women's Leadership Fountain at 9th and Paseo. The stonework is crumbling, and the lights and railing are gone.


Officials symbolically broke ground Wednesday morning to start the restoration of three fountains along Paseo Boulevard, including one of the city's oldest.

Parks board president John Fierro detailed the history of the 1899 Women's Leadership Fountain at 9th and Paseo, the oldest public fountain in Kansas City. It's fallen into disrepair and hasn't worked in years. The stonework is crumbling, and the lights and railing are gone.

Fierro says the fountain stopped working in the 1940s. It was repaired in 1970, then it stopped. It was repaired in 1990, and it stopped. According to Fierro, "Well, certainly there needs to be a larger effort undertaken to restore this so it works on an ongoing basis for a longer period."

Fierro credits past parks board commissioner Bob Lewellen for proposing the sale of parks land. Approved by voters in 2006, it raised $1.2 million for fountain repair. Total project costs are estimated at $2.67 million. This includes the renovation of the August R. Meyer Memorial and pergola at 10th and the Paseo and the William T. Fitzsimons Memorial Fountain at 12th and Paseo.

Officials expect the fountains to be ready for Fountain Day in April.

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