SPRINGFIELD – Forest Park’s zoo, water gardens and even dogwoods have inspired many of Theodor S. Geisel’s works.Dr. Seuss“, and now a proposed trail would highlight areas of the park and town where Geisel spent time as a child.
“It would be a thematic trail that would really trace areas of the park that we believe influenced some of the illustrations in his books and some of his stories,” said Kay Simpson, president of the Springfield Museums, in a meeting with the daughter-in-law of Geisel. Leagrey Dimond at the park Thursday afternoon.
Dimond met with Simpson, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management Patrick Sullivan to see plans for a horticulture and learning center project in the former home. monkeys in the park and to discuss the trail.
Dimond suggested calling the trail “The Seuss Stroll” and Sarno added “for young and old”.
“That’s it, I love it. Springfield’s Seuss Parkway, Seuss Parkway for young and old, ”Dimond said.
Simpson said highlights of the trail could include the Fairfield Street home that was Geisel’s childhood home and Classical Condominiums, which would have been classic high school when he was a boy.
“His father worked at the zoo and he saw animals in the zoo and the flowering dogwoods in the park were supposed to be the inspiration for Truffula Trees in” The Lorax “, so there is a lot of connection between Springfield and his books, his stories and his characters, “said Simpson.” We have been in contact with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and they are very anxious for us to do that. We have all the research and the information, now it’s time to do it. a reality and to have a cohesive approach to Seuss in Springfield that showcases the park and the city.
Sullivan said the proposed learning center would require private grants and donations, as well as an $ 8 million grant from a state-approved environmental bond package. He said the project timeline is around two years.
“The mayor has created several committees that are looking at the total cost and sources of funding and we should know by spring,” he said.
In addition to the trail, the park’s former monkey house would be renovated and used for community events, flower shows, and other activities year-round. There will also be a greenhouse built and even a carousel.
Sarno said he believed the trail and the learning center would be another reason for people to visit the park and the city.
“Projects like this, along with the Riverside and Pynchon Plaza, aim to make the city a place where families can come and spend the day and enjoy the beauty of Springfield,” he said. .
Dimond said the park was a big part of Geisel’s life and that she was thrilled with the city plan.
“Ted grew up coming to this park, his dad worked in this park and it was an important part of their life,” she said. “I can never speak for Ted, but I can see how Forest Park has affected his illustrations. There is something magical about Forest Park. I find it to be an extraordinarily beautiful park.