Proposed Route 66 Roadside Park
“Get Your Kicks” at Wildwood’s Future Route 66 Roadside Park
Did you know that Manchester Road in Wildwood is part of the original Route 66? Route 66, this new highway corridor created in 1926 as a major connection to the West, is affectionately known as the “Mother Road” and “The Main Street of America.” The highway gave birth to many small towns, inns, Mom and Pop stores, and other roadside attractions, and has since been memorialized in pop culture. There are many famously recognizable signs along the route today.
The Historic Preservation Commission is proposing to establish a Historic Route 66 Roadside Park as a tribute to this legacy on a half-acre parcel acquired by the City in 2019, which is in the core of Town Center at the southeastern corner of Grover Crossing Drive and Manchester Road. The parcel is located on the original Route 66, from 1926-1932, before the road was realigned. SWT Design, a landscape architectural firm, has been selected to develop potential design concepts for the site, in conjunction with the public input and participation of interested stakeholders.
Many communities have established similar parks, all with their own interpretation of the road as it relates to their respective areas. Here are some examples:
Now we have a chance to offer a similar attraction to Route 66 travelers in the Wildwood context. This park is proposed to serve as an interpretive site for Wildwood's historic Route 66 corridor, a trailhead facility for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and a community gathering place for celebrations.
The whole community is invited to be a part of this defining asset for our historic Route 66 corridor. We are actively engaging our area students, residents, business owners, property owners, and cyclists, as well as our statewide Route 66 aficionados, to develop a vision for the site. In September, students of all ages competed in a design contest for the "photo op" element of the future park, with Cheryl Rock's 4th hour 3D Modeling class at LaSalle Springs Middle School taking first place. Their design idea is now integrated into the latest design rendering for the park.
Please see below for the project informational handout, as well as the latest renderings of the preferred design concept for the park. We'd love to hear your thoughts! Next steps for this project include further review by the Planning and Parks Committee, and then more detailed consideration by City Council. Stay tuned!