Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management met with Leagrey Dimond, stepdaughter to Theodor S. Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, and the Forest Park Horticulture Center Historic Trail Committee on Thursday. The Committee includes Kay Simpson, President of the Springfield Museums; Joseph Carvalho, retired Executive Director of the Springfield Museums; Wayne Phaneuf, Executive Editor of The Republican; Karen Fisk, Director of Marketing and Communication Strategy for the Springfield Museums; Leslie Bercume, Owner at Leslie Bercume Design; Patrick Sullivan; and Chief of Staff Thomas Ashe.
The Committee has developed a concept that incorporates the history of Forest Park and the connection the park has with Theodor R. Geisel, Dr. Seuss’s father and Springfield Park Superintendent from 1930 - 1961. The proposed trail covers three miles of roads and paths throughout the park. The Committee is ready to create concept boards for over 16 areas of the park if approved by Mayor Sarno and the Park Commission. The trail will incorporate OCR codes on granite bollards. The OCR code will allow park patrons to upload the information on a particular area of the park on their phone or tablet. Director Sullivan is advocating for this method to reduce the amount of signage in the park and to respect the Olmsted design of Forest Park. The granite bollards were noted by Director Sullivan in old postcards of the park and the bollards are an element that will naturally fit the park’s landscape. Once approved, the committee will work to finalize the 16 locations and determine costs to create and install the bollards.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I’m very excited for this opportunity to create an interactive walk through the park. Honoring Theodor R. Geisel is a great tribute to the Geisel family and his personal stewardship of Springfield’s Forest Park for over 30 years. One can imagine that Mr. Geisel serving as Park Superintendent had an impact on his son, as young Ted, living only a few blocks away, spent many days in the park. This is a great tribute to the Geisel family, especially Ted and his father. I am eager to review the concept boards and move forward with this initiative in the near future.”
Executive Director Patrick Sullivan stated, “I’m very grateful to Joe Carvalho, Kay Simpson and Wayne Phaneuf for bringing this idea forward. The OCR code information will allow visitors to gain more knowledge of the history of Forest Park and have a better understanding of how Superintendent Geisel and his son Ted viewed the park. It also will encourage our residents to visit the park, take a long stroll and enjoy the natural beauty this park has to offer. We look forward to working with the committee over the next few months to finalize the details and define a timeline to implement this trail into the park master plan. ”
“Ted Geisel spent much of his boyhood exploring Forest Park with his sketchbook in hand,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “The Springfield Museums are honored to contribute to a project that celebrates the legacy of Dr. Seuss as a beloved children’s book author who was born in our city.”