Bradbury fans want a statue of the late author in Waukegan

Community activists and fans of famed science-fiction author Ray Bradbury are hoping his Lake County birthplace will honor him with a statue.

Bradbury, who died in 2012, was born in Waukegan and lived in the city until he was 13. He turned Waukegan into the fictitious Green Town in the book, "Dandelion Wine" and in other stories, and he supported the Waukegan Public Library throughout his life.

A grass-roots committee led by library Executive Director Richard Lee is working to raise money for a bronze statue that would immortalize the great writer.

"Erecting a Bradbury statue in Bradbury's hometown has always been of interest to me," Lee said in a news release. "Not only because Bradbury should hold a place of honor in Waukegan, but also because Bradbury's passion for reading and learning would be an inspiration to the community."

Bradbury didn't merely use Waukegan and its landmarks in his stories. He frequently visited the city and sponsored the library's Creative Contest for 30 years.

He also allowed the library to present the annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival each fall.

When Bradbury died, he left the library his entire personal book collection.

"He has meant so much to our community," Mayor Wayne Motley told the Daily Herald. "I think it's a wonderful idea to honor a man who has done nothing but promote our community his whole life."

Lee is working with community activists Hank and Beverly Bogdala on the statue project.

City spokesman David Motley digs the idea, too. A statue of Bradbury would be "a testament to his legacy for the community," he said in a telephone interview.

David Motley suggested the Carnegie Building at Washington Street and Sheridan Road could be a suitable location for a statue honoring Bradbury. It was the library's home until the current facility opened in 1965, and it now stands vacant.

"His ideas were spurred and born right there in that building," Motley said.

A Bradbury memorial would be the second statue to honor a famous native son in Waukegan. A statue of Jack Benny stands at the corner of Genesee and Clayton streets in a plaza named for the comedian.

Organizers hope charitable donations and sponsorships will cover the cost of the statue.

To contribute or to join the committee, call Lee at (847) 623-2041, ext. 250.

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Ray Bradbury Park in Waukegan honors the memory of the homegrown writer. Fans want to commission a memorial statue and erect it in the city. DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTO
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