‘Bloom’ offers new life to grieving Westside family

       For four years, May has been a painful month for the family of Genevieve “Genny” Sucharski.
        They couldn't help it. It was on May 12, 2000, that Genny, 18 - a budding poet, artist, photographer and engineer who aspired to be an astronaut - died in a car crash in Nebraska on her way back from her freshman year at Iowa's Drake University.
       Genny Sucharski But this May, things will be different. That's when her Westside family will start on a project together: They've adopted, in response to the city's new Springs in Bloom program, the flower bed at nearby Thorndale Park. Their adoption title is “The Family and Friends of Genny.”
       “We have a hard time with May,” said her grandmother, Lee Gray, who came up with the idea, “but maybe this will make things better.”
       “It's going to be absolutely perfect,” added Genny's mother, Karen Sucharski. She replied “Gosh, no” when asked if she's an avid gardener. “It's not about gardening. It's a place we can infuse with her energy.”
        Thorndale was the ideal site because it's so close to where Genny grew up in the 2500 block of West Kiowa Street. “She use to go up to the park to sit and study,” Lee said. “Sometimes she'd take her little brothers to the swings.”
        “She was there all the time,” Karen said.
       The family wanted to start planting on May 12, but city rules say they have to wait until the 15th. So the plan now is to buy the plants on the 12th, thus bringing joy to the date of the tragedy. Then, by starting planting on the 15th, they will alleviate the pain from another date, Lee's birthday, which she has not been celebrating because of its proximity to the 12th.
        “It'll be nice to have something to do those days,” Karen said. “We can create something beautiful.”
        Genny's legacy remains in four public places. The Manitou Springs High School graduate worked with local artist Steve Wood on murals in the Manitou Springs City Hall and Soda Springs Park and a mosaic where El Paso Boulevard crosses under Highway 24. Also, a blue fish ceramic of hers is part of the wall at the Manitou Skate Park.
        What would she have thought of the flower-bed adoption idea? “She'd have been out there weeding already,” Lee said.

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