So the unwashed masses are being chased out of the fountain at Crown Center.
By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star
Should have happened a long time ago.
Management at Crown Center has been open, honest and gracious about the decision. Ill be more blunt.
They dont want to get sued for children slipping, falling and cracking their heads open. And they dont want some ugly bacterial infection caused by toddler poop, or just too many humans, in the water sprays.
The new ban is not racial, as some have alleged. Families of all backgrounds played there. But a lack of class in the form of common sense when it comes to public spaces definitely played a role.
People should have realized the fountain area wasnt meant to be a water park. A little splish-splash fun, maybe spend even a half-hour there, sure. But dont bring a folding chair and expect to park yourself all day. Doing so displays an over-reaching sense of entitlement. And its a form that shows up regularly, unrelated to bank account size.
The nearest bathrooms are up the steps and in the parking garage by the ice rink.
The only time porta-potties are present is for the many events that are intended to draw large numbers of people for several hours.
Crown Center admits that dirty diapers played a role in the decision to ban people from running through the circulating water.
Wet diapers have come down; spillage has occurred. It was inevitable, given the increasing numbers drawn to the fountains this summer.
Most parents probably just gather junior up, slap on a new diaper and carry on.
But if the security officers see a major diaper mishap, they are supposed to order the fountain shut down, get the feces scooped up and then the whole thing has to be drained and treated (shocked is the term) with chlorine.
Best just not to allow wee ones to waddle through, repeatedly, for hours.
Crown Center is after all, a business. Management walks the line between offering free events and attractions to draw crowds and monitoring the numbers that come for the safety and the enjoyment of all. And still turn a dollar, lots of dollars, to keep the place afloat.
Were a long way from 1967, when New York architect Edward Larrabee Barnes was chosen to design the master plan for the 85-acre Crown Center project. He died in 2004, so no asking his opinion now.
Archival files show that he requested more open space within the center of the development, with plenty of room for greenery, art objects and waterfalls.
The fountain opened in 1972 and underwent an overhaul in 2006, adding the ability to synchronize the columns of water to music.
Still, its a safe bet Barnes never envisioned it as a public bidet.
To reach Mary Sanchez. call 816-234-4752 or send email to email@example.com.