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Park development spurred.

The first park commission was formed by the city in 1913. At that time it had only two parks to administer, Lafayette and Washington, both of which were part of North Springfield when the consolidation came in 1887. Both are now included on the city's historic sites register.

The first step in parks development was purchase of Phelps Grove Park which also served as the city's zoo. There followed, in 1923, purchase of the Dickerson property . . . reportedly site of the first zoo in the state . . . where the animals from Phelps Grove were soon relocated Development of Fassnight Park came soon thereafter in 1925.

In the years that have followed there has developed a parks and recreation system second to none for cities this size. It includes 56 parks, three community centers, a day camp, 12 lighted softball fields, five swimming pools, Dickerson Zoo Park and two 18-hole golf courses. A variety of supervised educational and recreational programs are held at these locations.

The city's newest park, being developed during this year, is fittingly named after the famous Revolutionary War general, Nathanael Greene, who gave his name to the county.

One could hop on a private open-air bus for a ride to Phelps Grove Park in its heyday.
The original portion of Fassnight Park was built in 1925. Facilities there have since been renovated.
One of the oldest parks in the system is Washington Park at 1600 Summit Avenue (below) which was part of North Springfield until consolidation with Springfield. It is an historic site today.
Much work has been done in recent years to improve the facilities and collection of animals at Dickerson Park Zoo. It is now known nationally for its unique bald eagle breeding program.
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