A chain link fence encircling Meyer Circle at Ward Parkway illustrates what fundraisers confirmed Wednesday: Repairs finally have begun on the Sea Horse Fountain, thanks to nearly $1 million in commitments.
The 92-year-old fountain, one of Kansas City’s showiest, went dry in 2015 after flooding ruined its underground pump room, motor and electrical system.
Water is expected to flow again this fall.
Private fundraising efforts kicked up earlier this year to assist existing contributions to the City of Fountains Foundation and public funds channeled through the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and the city’s Public Improvements Advisory Committee.
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More than $955,000 has been committed, of which $605,000 is needed for the repairs. The remaining $350,000 will create an endowment fund for future maintenance, solely for Meyer Circle.
Tom and Debbie Ward led the private-sector donors with a gift of $150,000. Total community fundraising totaled $418,000 to augment the public allocations of $387,000.
The fountain’s circular pool basin, water pipes, jets and masonry also are being refurbished. JE Dunn Construction has agreed to do the repair work at cost.
The fundraising, led by retired Kansas City businessman David Fowler, will continue in order to build the endowment fund. Organizers said they hope their efforts will encourage other fountain advocates to adopt similar fountains to ensure their long-term operation.