City officials in Lebanon, Missouri, last week broke ground for construction of a new Route 66-themed section of Boswell Park.
According to the Lebanon Daily Record:
“This is a great day for Route 66. This is our heritage, and this is our culture. We should not forget that,” said Lebanon City Councilman and Route 66 Society member Bill Wheeler said during the groundbreaking.
Wheeler has been trying to get the project off the ground for the past 10 years. The project started off as a small pocket park within Boswell Park near the Elm Street side, which was originally Route 66. This summer, the Lebanon Park Board decided to change the scope of the project, expanding the renovation by making the rest of the park Route 66-themed, which Wheeler said was a wise decision.
According to Ozarks First in Springfield, Missouri:
Some of the additions include a new parking area, a Route 66 themed shelter, a re-creation of the Dream Village Fountain, a Route 66 replica drive, and three murals showcasing Lebanon’s rich history on Route 66.
The city’s park board in August approved about $400,000 in funding for the park. About $323,000 will come from the sale of the Nelson Education Center as part of an agreement to use part of the money for the park, plus another $75,000 in donations.
If you wish to give for the Route 66 mural in the park, call Lebanon Area Foundation administrator Melinda Fries at 417-532-8868.
The aforementioned Nelson Dream Village was built in 1931 along Route 66 in Lebanon. It featured a large fountain with 12 cabins of native stone surrounding it. The motel closed after the Lebanon was bypassed by Interstate 44.
(Image of Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Darrell Pollock at the groundbreaking via Facebook)