Nichols family, parks board support renaming fountain and parkway

J.C. Nichols fountain at Mill Creek Park

The Nichols family voiced support for the movement to rename the J.C. Nichols Fountain and Parkway on Tuesday ahead of the Board of Parks and Recreation decision.

“We have a great passion for the Kansas City spirit, and for the people in every corner of our community who bring it to life,” said Kay Callison, Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation president and granddaughter of J.C. Nichols. “It is important to each of us that we publicly endorse the name change for the greater good of the city we love.”

After Parks and Recreation Commissioner Chris Goode penned a letter on June 9 calling for their renaming, the Parks Board held two community engagement sessions to hear from residents in recent weeks, one of which was held virtually.

The Parks Board considered the removal of Nichols’ name at a meeting Tuesday, June 30.

Goode, who proposed the name change, said removing Nichols’ name is not a solution or a moment for celebration, but a gesture toward what’s right and the opportunity to open a long-overdue dialogue in Kansas City and the country.

“While it seems unrelated, my heart instantly, and my mind,  goes to the young man LeGend that lost his life and I haven’t been able to really shake the idea of what happened to that kid as a father,” Goode said of 4-year-old who was shot while sleeping in his bed earlier this week. “It’s this big pot of just muck that we find ourselves in, and we find outcomes like that stemming from hatred that’s been embedded into our country and our city for far too long.”

Commission President Jack Holland said removing Nichols’ name is not about erasing history but responding to history.

“As we consider this proposal, we should not forget the significant contributions made by Mr. Nichols to the fields of land use planning and design standards,” Holland said. “But the use of racially restrictive covenants led to segregated neighborhoods in Kansas City, which led to racial isolation and resulted, in my opinion, in severe concentration of poverty.”

He said Kansas Citians should dedicate themselves to creating neighborhoods that are welcoming, thriving and safe, of which the city’s parks and recreation department should be a critical component.

Commissioner Scott Wagner recognized the overwhelming community participation in the decision, including from the Nichols family and the foundation.

“I also want to recognize that we have more work to do,” Wagner said. “We started this year, before pandemics and such things, talking about how to properly recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and there are those out there who thought that the actions that we take today would resolve that, too, and I am very happy to say that work will continue because there is still work to be done in that way.”

Both the resolution to remove Nichols’ name from the fountain and the parkway on the Country Club Plaza passed unanimously.

“Were he alive today, we know for sure that he would be proud to see us taking these actions,” Kay Callison said of her father, Miller Nichols. “We will continue our quiet, heartfelt foundation work to ensure that we can support the values he instilled, toward the betterment of the city we all love.”

The fountain stands in Mill Creek Park at J.C. Nichols Parkway and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard on the Country Club Plaza. The park has been the site of dozens of police brutality protests over recent weeks.

Jesse Clyde Nichols developed neighborhoods in the early 1900s with covenants designed to effectively keep black Kansas Citians out of certain neighborhoods.

“No person accelerated white flight, redlining, and racial division in the Kansas City area more than J.C. Nichols,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement. “The time has long passed that we remove Kansas City’s memorials to his name. I fully support Commissioner Goode’s efforts to rename J.C. Nichols Fountain and Parkway.”

Goode said these protests illustrated the need for these steps, and that it was time to end the acceptance of “racial inequalities created by J.C. Nichols.”

He proposed the parkway be renamed for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the fountain be renamed the Dream Fountain.

“This is a defining moment for our City,” said Mark Callison, grandson of Miller Nichols. “Our family stands squarely behind the spirit of diversity, equality and social justice that has taken hold in our region and in our nation. My grandfather Miller taught us these values. The best way we knew to communicate with them was to say to Kansas Citians from every corner of this community, ‘Kansas City, the Nichols Family stands with you.’”

Foundation Boardmember Terry Dunn said that he welcomed the opportunity to support the family’s actions.

“Today, the Nichols family has acted with humility and passion for Kansas City,” Dunn said. “I’m honored to share in their efforts to make equality and social justice a critical priority. We will all be better and stronger for it.”

The Nichols family announced the commitment of $100,000 to the City of Fountains Foundation toward continued support and maintenance of the fountain.

The board will continue to gather input on choosing an appropriate name replacement until July 9, according to a press release from Parks and Recreation.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Permanent artwork being installed at Kansas City Museum

    23 hours ago
    by

    Nikki Lansford Editorial Assistant The Kansas City Museum is one step closer to its grand reopening as the first piece […]


    Tonight: KC participates in nationwide COVID-19 memorial

    January 19th, 2021
    by

    Kansas City leadership will come together to honor frontline workers and remember those lost to COVID-19 during a National Day […]


    KCMO extends state of emergency, relaxes curfew

    January 19th, 2021
    by

    Abby HooverManaging Editor Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas extended the city’s State of Emergency on Wednesday, Jan. 13, in consultation […]


    AG Garrison expresses concern over potential inauguration violence

    January 18th, 2021
    by

    “Federal law enforcement authorities have publicly expressed concern about the potential for violent demonstrations in all 50 states and the […]


    Charges filed in Wednesday shooting near Benton & Thompson

    January 17th, 2021
    by

    Twenty one year old Tityana Coppage of South Kansas City has been charged with 2nd Degree Murder and Armed Criminal […]


    KCPS prepares to vaccinate employees, return to classroom

    January 14th, 2021
    by

    The Kansas City Public School district (KCPS) announced January 14 that it is preparing to offer vaccinations to all employees […]


    KCPD to outfit all officers with body cams

    January 14th, 2021
    by

    The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) plans to order 475 additional body-worn cameras for its patrol officers, said Kansas City […]


    Homicide at Admiral and Lydia

    January 13th, 2021
    by

    Update, Thursday, Jan. 14 at 8:30 a.m. – The victim has been identified as Keith Lars, a 36-year-old Black male. […]


  • Hope Faith facilitates City’s new housing program

    January 13th, 2021
    by

    Resources are expanding for Kansas City’s unhoused families who have lost homes due to COVID-19 as the City has signed […]


    Four Alarm Fire displaces dozens.

    January 13th, 2021
    by

    A four alarm fire engulfed an apartment building in the 1100 block of Benton Boulevard in the early morning of […]


    Kansas City organization focuses on Latinx representation in education

    January 13th, 2021
    by

    Daisy Garcia Montoya Contributor Local nonprofit organization Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC) is working to increase and retain the number of […]


    The memory of a local star still shines

    January 13th, 2021
    by

    Bryan Stalder Contributor A stalwart of the Northeast community, Shane Rowse, passed away last September at the age of 55. […]


    East Bottoms motor vehicle fatality

    January 12th, 2021
    by

    On Monday, Jan. 11, the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) announced the second fatal vehicle crash of 2021. On Saturday, […]


    Jackson County suspends evictions as pressure from KC Tenants mounts

    January 12th, 2021
    by

    Jackson County 16th Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs signed an Administrative Order on Monday, Jan. 11 to temporarily suspend […]


    KCPD Chief Rick Smith on 2020 Homicide numbers

    January 9th, 2021
    by

    https://kcpdchief.blogspot.com/2021/01/with-kcs-2020-homicide-increase-below.html?m=1 Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below! Enter your email address and click […]


    Homicide, 10th & Fuller

    January 8th, 2021
    by

    Update 2 p.m. Jan. 11: The victim has been identified as Jeffery Brown, a 26-year-old white male. Just before 1 […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Remember This?


  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.