Monday, June 17, 2013

Kansas City's Spirit of Freedom Fountain Needs Expensive Repairs

Spirit of Freedom Fountain
Kansas City is known as the "City of Fountains" for a reason.  Except for Rome, it has more operational fountains than any other city in the world, including the Spirit of Freedom Fountain located at 4700 Cleveland Avenue.

Dedicated to the city on September 13, 1981, and erected from the dream of former Kansas City Council member and community/civic leader Bruce R. Watkins,  the Spirit of Freedom Fountain celebrates African American contributions to Kansas City and includes a 5,000-pound metallic free-form sculpture sitting atop a pedestal of cascading water which flows into a basin equipped with six clusters of water jets spraying directly into the air.  

The Spirit of Freedom sculpture was designed by Chicago sculptor Richard Hunt and is meant to capture the improvisational jazz feel of Kansas City.  The fountain was funded with money and donations raised through the Spirit of Kansas City Foundation, an organization set up by Bruce R. Watkins.  

A close-up of the Spirit of Freedom Fountain
Although still currently operational and available for for weddings, the Spirit of Freedom Fountain is on Kansas City's list of fountains in need of critical repair.  The iron base supports of the pedestal are visibly beginning to bulge out, and the cost to repair the fountain is $135,000.

According to Mark McHenry, the Director of Parks and Recreation, in a recent interview with Fox 4 News, Kansas City's capital improvement budget allots approximately $250,000 a year to maintain and repair fountains, which is not nearly enough to fix the city's multiple fountain problems.  

That is where the City of Fountains Foundation comes into play.  They are a nonprofit organization working to raise the needed funds to bring all of Kansas City's 48 publicly-owned fountains back to pristine working condition.  They believe that  Kansas City's fountains symbolize our world-class status and are a visual display of community pride. 

So, next time you are in the Midtown/Plaza area, stop by and check out the Spirit of Freedom Fountain and soak up a bit of Kansas City history.  

There is no parking available at the fountain itself, but you can park on a close-by neighborhood street or in the parking lot of the nearby Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center and then easily walk to the fountain, which is just off of the Brush Creek Trail. 

A snow-covered Spirit of Freedom Fountain


  1. A few weeks ago I noticed the water in my fountain was a bit discolored. I didn’t think anything of it, but after a couple days I noticed that it got a whole lot worse so I knew I needed to have it checked. In my search for a repair service, I came across Miami Pool Tech and I hired them to handle the job. Their service was great and they take care of all your fountain problems. Check out their maintenance programs on