Community speaks out at first input session on renaming JC Nichols Fountain, Parkway

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thursday night was the first chance for the Kansas City community to weigh in on potentially renaming J.C. Nichols Fountain and Parkway

A Kansas City parks commissioner proposed the name change earlier this month because of Nichols’ ties to racist policies.

He developed the Country Club Plaza, and the district around it was recognized as one of the 60 best public spaces in the world. But those homes couldn’t be sold to African-Americans and Jewish people. He implemented similar policies in other developments around the KC area. 

Many of the speakers said Nichols has been celebrated for too long.

“Sixty years is 60 years too long,” said Jessica James, who delivered a petition with 1,700 signatures to Thursday night’s meeting. “Kansas City is better than this. Taxpaying citizens deserve better.”

Because of the pandemic, 355 people chose to email their opinions rather than speak Thursday.

More than 80% were in favor of changing the name.

The Parks and Re Department will host another session virtually at 2 p.m. next Wednesday before deciding whether to change the name.

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