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Driver crashes into KC fountain days before celebration of $1.4 million repair

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City fountain lovers were dealt an unexpected blow Thursday on what was supposed to be a milestone day.

Five days before Fountain Day, 100,000 gallons started filling up the Meyer Circle Seahorse Fountain. A winter freeze sent the lower bowl and one of the lions that adorned it crashing to the fountain floor.

At the other end of Meyer Boulevard, landscaping crews were putting the finishing touches on the grounds surrounding Delbert J. Haff Circle Fountain. It underwent a $1.4 million repair last year, paid with $750,000 of voter-approved GOkc Bonds.

“Now it has like six spouts. They are colorful. It’s red, green, blue. It’s pretty," Tina Scaithe said.

“We are very pleased to have both of these fountains going at the same time in 2019," said Jim Fitzpatrick with City of Fountains.

But just as crews were taking down the scaffolding for Meyer Circle’s repairs, across town in front of Swope Park a black Jaguar crashed the Fountain Day party planned at the Haff Circle Fountain five days early.

The car’s driver broke through the exterior wall of the fountain park area, hit the interior wall of the fountain and then sent landscaping crews laying sod scrambling.

The car finally came to a stop underneath one of their work trucks.

“People just have to be careful. They’ve just got to pay attention. You know, it’s a fountain there. It’s a great big huge fountain, so you need to be paying attention. It’s kind of sad when stuff like that happen. I’m just glad nobody was hurt.”

The driver was taken into custody on suspicion of driving while impaired. Fountain Day planners had yet to assess the damage Thursday and could not comment on whether it could affect Tuesday’s celebration.

Meyer Circle Seahorse Fountain cost $30,800 to repair. The project manager said damage to the sculpture was worse than they originally thought. A waterproof coating identical to the coating used on the fountain basin was applied to help water from penetrating into the stone in the future.

Fitzpatrick said those repairs will most likely be covered in full by private funds, not city or foundation dollars. Meyer Circle Fountain should fill up Friday in time for crews to test the fountain and have it turned on for Saturday's Rock the Parkway race event.

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