Bruce Owen addresses park board

Bruce Owen of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society addresses the Lebanon Park Board about the Camp Joy cabin at Wednesday's meeting.

The permanent home for the last surviving Camp Joy cabin might be Boswell Park, already the site of Route 66 murals and a Route 66-themed playground.

The Lebanon Park Board heard a proposal Wednesday from John Shelton, city parks director, for the cabin to be placed on a knoll on the west side of the park near the Justice Furniture building.

“I think it’s a great addition to the park,” Shelton said.

Lee Sing, owner of Sing Rental, donated the cabin last month to the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society, which plans to move and restore it. Sing recently bought the land where the cabin sits and needs it moved in order to expand his business.

Camp Joy, later known as the Joy Motel, was believed to be Lebanon’s first tourist camp when it was established by the Spears family in 1927. The business closed in the early 1980s.

The cabin currently is 16-feet square, but Bruce Owen, one of three Route 66 Society board members at the meeting, explained that a 4-foot addition will be removed as part of the restoration, returning the building to its original 12-foot-by-16-foot size.

Owen said a house mover looked at the cabin Tuesday and bid a reasonable price to move it to the park. “He’s as interested in the preservation of Route 66 as we are,” Owen said.

Under the plan proposed by Shelton, the Route 66 Society would pay for moving the cabin and its restoration, while the Parks and Recreation Department would pay for the site preparation, including a concrete slab, sidewalk and electrical hookup, and a security camera.

Upon taking possession of the cabin, the parks department would be responsible for maintenance, which prompted concerns from two park-board members.

Board President James Crawford questioned whether the cabin’s asphalt shingles could be replaced with a metal roof, citing how wind in the proposed location could blow off asphalt shingles. Route 66 Society Vice President Gary Sosniecki said the group wants to keep the cabin as historically accurate as possible for tourism purposes. Owen suggested that more might be learned about the original roofing material when the addition is removed. Route 66 Society Treasurer Cliff Claxton also attended in support of the project.

Member Carrie Plassmeyer asked that the park board delay a decision until it could review potential expenses in more detail. But she added: “I think it’s a really neat idea.”

The board agreed that Shelton should gather more information about the project and report back to the members.

Said Owen: “I want to thank everyone for your consideration and time.”

Moving the cabin to Boswell Park also needs to be approved by the Route 66 Society board.

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