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Local

Franklin Creek Conservation Association planning storybook trail to honor Books on First owner

FRANKLIN GROVE – The Franklin Creek Conservation Association is planning to build a storybook trail in honor of beloved Books on First owner Larry Dunphy.

Dunphy owned and worked at the downtown Dixon book store and coffee shop at 202 W. First St. for 21 years and was known as a Renaissance man with deep roots of community involvement. He died in November at age 81.

He was also a member of the conservation association board, and a memorial was established in his name to go toward the organization.

Katie McBride, education program coordinator at Franklin Creek, said their education committee had been talking about creating a storybook trail for some time and thought it would be a perfect way to honor Dunphy's memory.

"I think this is a great, super-neat project," McBride said. "It's a way to get kids outside being active and learning along the way."

The trail length and location is still being finalized, but it will likely have 16 panels and feature a new book every season. The first will be "Miss Maple's Seeds" by Eliza Wheeler, which was chosen because of its themes of stewardship and changing seasons, she said.

The association is funding the trail with a $1,000 grant from the Blackhawk Waterways Convention and Visitors Bureau and funds from the Dunphy memorial.

The goal is to have the trail ready in the next month or so, but there have been delays because of the coronavirus pandemic.

They received state approval for the project but are awaiting final approval for the location. It will likely be at the Norwegian Hill area and go by the playground near the Banker Shelter.

Find the Franklin Creek Conservation Association on Facebook for more information.

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