KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A broken iconic fountain in Kansas City is about to get a major makeover thanks to neighbors who rallied to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix it.
More than 40,000 people drive past the Meyer Circle Sea Horse Fountain, 63rd and Ward Parkway, each day, and it’s one of the most recognizable fountains in Kansas City.
The last time any major work was done on the fountain was 1992. But in the fall of 2015, the pump broke and now it needs to be replaced, which costs $600,000.
"The frost in there freezes and thaws in the rain and all that takes a toll on his fountains, and they have a lifespan of 25, every 25 years or so you have to do some serious work on them," said Pat O'Neill, President City of Fountains Foundation.
Neither the city nor the Fountains Foundation had enough money to repair it right away, so there was the threat this fountain, which has been a part of this neighborhood for almost 100-years, might not get turned on this year.
Some nearby residents decided to get involved and fund raise. They collected the extra $175,000 the city needed to fix it. They’re also in the process of collecting another $250,000 to set up an endowment to pay for future repairs.
"These are the kind of fountains, these are the symbols of our city, and the vitality of it and all that stuff so it's really important to make sure it's running again and people realize that people stepped up from $50 to $150,000.
This fountain will now get a new top-of-the-line pump, new lighting, and some new pipes, plus the cracks in the stones will be sealed – giving this old fountain new life.
"With these fountains, what you don't see is all the infrastructure underneath, pumps and electrical and all that, it's in vaults underneath, and that fault flooded which knocked out everything," O'Neill said.
The sea horse sculptures were made in the 1700s – JC Nichols brought them over from Venice in the 1920s.
To truly fix it, they will bring down the sculpture and get behind those stones to make sure the interior is strong.
They hope to begin work on it soon and get the water in this fountain running again within the next couple of months.
Click here to learn more about the fountain system in Kansas City.