SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Park-goers in Springfield can look forward to a new fountain at the Botanical Gardens, dedicated to a former MSU professor with a generous history.
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board held a dedication ceremony for the Thomas J. Kachel Fountain this Friday, August 12 in Nathanael Greene/ Close Memorial Park. The ceremony was hosted by Bob Belote, director of the Park Board.
City councilman Mike Schilling said the Springfield Botanical Gardens sees over 800,000 guests per year, and the opening of the fountain “leaves a new place to reflect on our values.”
Joshua Porter, an associate of Kachel’s, said this year would’ve been the 50th anniversary of Kachel’s career in higher education. Kachel taught at Missouri State University for over 30 years in what was formerly called the Department of Fashion and Interior Design.
Porter said while Kachel didn’t like to publicly broadcast all his philanthropic interests, since passing away in 2017 his estate has donated over $1.1 million to various charities on his behalf.
Belote didn’t specify how much Kachel’s estate donated to the park, but specified that in the past two years they’ve received over $750,000 in donations, and said the “lion’s share” came from Kachel’s estate.
The fountain currently resides south of the Botanical Center along the South Creek Greenway Trail— but that wasn’t originally its intended home.
Chair of the Park Board Randy Blackford said Kachel originally wished for his estate to work on installing a fountain in Springfield at Phelps Grove Park. But with the fountain’s size, they said the location just wasn’t large enough, nor would it have on-site maintenance.
Standing now opposite Lake Drummund, Blackford said the new location was a perfect match.
The Kachel fountain dedication ceremony came the same week Greene County celebrated Nathanael Greene’s 280th birthday, the county’s namesake.