This is what the Greatest Generation inherited:
When I was growing up, when the city was at its zenith of population and wealth and the GG was at the height of its power, this is what it looked like:
The Greatest Generation’s idea of a park bench for an Olmsted park:
The former site of the Barney Mansion:
What a declining city with a poorer populace and limited revenues has done since 1990…right about the time the members of the “Greatest Generation” had all retired:
I had no idea that there was a pond at Forest Park called “Fountain Pond” because the fountains had never worked…that changed after the GG’s left:
I could put names to the claim, but I’d rather not. When the old guard of park overlords left in the 1990’s things turned around. Anyone who denies it either wasn’t paying attention, is lying, or is deluding themselves. In my experience this one example is not an anomaly, the WWII generation did a terrible job of caring for the legacy of public infrastructure they inherited. The decline cities like Springfield suffered especially after 1980 was not the cause of this neglect, though it most certainly was one of the effects. It is trendy to blame Baby Boomers for being selfish and for selling out their values. It may be that they never lived up to the highest of their ideals, but the parks, pools, schools, and libraries of my hometown have certainly benefited more from their stewardship than of that of their parents.