KC Parks Engage: Reexamining J.C. Nichols

Where are you on the complicated legacy of Kansas City developer J.C. Nichols? Should his name be removed from the parkway running to and alongside the Country Club Plaza? And from the memorial fountain adjacent to the Nichols-designed outdoor shopping district?

Here’s your chance to weigh in.

Kansas City’s board of parks and recreation commissioners – in partnership with the Library – is holding an online community engagement session to solicit public input on a proposal to rename both the parkway and the fountain. An initial, in-person forum was held Thursday, June 18.

Participants and other viewers can join this second public hearing via Zoom. Capacity may be limited, so connect early. Individual comments are limited to 90 seconds.

Nichols’ practices have drawn renewed scrutiny as the country tries to come to terms with longtime racial inequity and injustice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis policemen on May 25. Yes, Nichols was a renowned visionary who developed the Plaza and some of Kansas City’s most beautiful neighborhoods. But he was also responsible for racial redlining and residential covenants that kept Blacks, Jews, and other marginalized people from purchasing homes and living in the more desirable areas of the city – the kind of historical discrimination that is drawing fresh attention and intensified condemnation nationwide.

While participants in the public hearing by the parks and recreation commissioners can offer renaming suggestions, the session is focused on the question of whether to remove Nichols’ name from the parkway and the fountain at the entrance to the Plaza.



Explore this curatated collection of books, research resources, and current articles about Nichols, his legacy, and the history of the residential racial divide in Kansas City.

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KC Parks Engage: Reexamining J.C. Nichols

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