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Arts & Life

Finally Free Of Brush Creek Sludge, This Kansas City Fountain Is Back In Action

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Hannah Copeland
/
KCUR 89.3
The William Volker Memorial Fountain at 47th and Oak.

The second Tuesday in April each year has been designated as Fountain Day — the day Kansas City fountains spring back to life. This year, the festivities included one fountain that had been dry for the last four years.

A crowd cheered as water cascaded down the 28-foot wall and steps of the William Volker Memorial Fountain in Theis Park, just south of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

The fountain has had a chronic design flaw since it was built in the 1990s. 

"It was literally taking water out of Brush Creek, [and] putting it back into Brush Creek," says Casey Cassias, principal at BNIM Architects and past president of the City of Fountains Foundation.

"So after a flood event or anything else, all the silt and all the debris that was in there was filled with so much sludge that it was just concrete."

The Foundation has spent $1.2 million restoring the Volker Fountain and the 1958 bronzes by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles on top of it. This waterfall fountain now uses potable water.     

Hannah Copeland is an announcer and arts contributor at KCUR. Follow her on Twitter @hannahecopeland.

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