Sometimes personal projects veer from passion to obsession, but in a good way. This spring, I spent ten sleepless, coffee-fueled weeks designing and writing restorelilacway.com. Built in WordPress, it continues the original brand design, expands on a 2007 website, and works beautifully on mobile devices with 30+ pages and 22 photo galleries.

A civic project conceived, researched, written, designed and developed pro bono, Restore Lilac Way documents seven roadside parks built on Highway 100 in 1939. The parks featured quirky beehive-shaped fireplaces built on Highway 100. Sadly, there are only two beehive fireplaces left in the U.S.—Lilac Park has been restored, and Graeser Park needs restoration.

The project was done as much for myself, as for the community and legacy of Lilac Way. I’ve been haunted for 10 years by that outdated website. I used to wake up in the middle of the night, knowing I just had to bring all that history back to life again.

The timing could not have been better—the website launched, there’s growing interest to restore the Graeser Park beehive, MnDOT has started the title transfer process to the City of Robbinsdale, and volunteers are maintaining the parks. There is even a growing movement to restore the Rock Garden area (aka Monkey Island/Hidden Park) in St. Louis Park.

The Facebook page is driving discussion, and Instagram and YouTube will be expanded next.

I was hell-bent to replace that old website, and it was totally worth the effort. The coffee pot is empty, and I can finally get some sleep—Much adieu, Karen