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New fountain dedicated at Springfield’s Botanical Gardens

The new Thomas Kachel Fountain now sprays its misty jets high into the air. Located at the bottom of the hill by the Springfield Botanical Center, the big new water feature sparkles near Lake Drummond and the Hosta Garden at Close Memorial Park.

Some 60 supporters of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board turned out last week for a dedication ceremony, ribbon-cutting and the switching on of the Kachel Fountain.

The fountain was made possible by a half-million-dollar bequest from Thomas Kachel, who died in 2017. Friends and loved ones described Kachel as a talented designer with a passion for community. He taught fashion and interior design at Missouri State University for 32 years, said friend Joshua Porter. Porter helped organize Kachel’s gift to the park board.

"I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to meet Tom," Porter told KSMU.

"He served as my undergraduate professor. I think the one thing I take away from this entire experience is to try to think outside of yourself, try to give back to the community when you can.”

Speakers at the dedication said Kachel had originally hoped for a fountain to be built near the WaterWise Garden at Phelps Grove Park on National Avenue. But because the site wasn’t large enough, Kachel’s memorial fountain was installed at the Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. KSMU asked Porter if his friend would have approved of the move.

“I think that he would," Porter said. "What was really fascinating about this is the fact that he had, obviously a well-appointed home, he loved his gardens and with the Botanical Gardens site and how well-maintained it is, and the focus on the different gardens and whatnot, I think he would absolutely love where this fountain’s at.”

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.