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El Cajon Parks and Rec to offer memorial benches and picnic tables

The El Cajon City Council passed a resolution  Tuesday to allow the Parks and Recreation Department to begin selling “in memorial” benches and picnic tables that will be placed at specific locations within the city.

Department director Frank Carson said that service manager Adam Tronerud had done extensive research, locally, statewide and across the country in building the Bench and Picnic Table Memorial Program. He said in the initial process they looked at tree dedication program, but decided not to as nationally, it has become a discussion and that a tree that is planted by a city has about a 50% chance of living.

“It can become a difficult situation when a family member sees a tree not make it and it becomes a bigger issue,” he said. “We are looking at City Council to look at the Bench and Picnic Table Memorial Program and see how that goes, then we can look at expanding that after this initial phase.”

Tronerud said the program is about giving citizens an opportunity to memorialize and commemorate their loved ones, organization, or families. He said staff standardized a bench and picnic table for placement in parks, with predetermined locations, and that staff will meet with interested individuals and come to a mutual understanding to where the memorial will be placed.

The cost of the bench is $2,000 and the picnic table is $3,000.

“We worked with Public Works staff to select products that would closely match the picnic tables and benches that we currently have, so as we change them out it will look seamless in our parks,” he said. “And, they also have a long lifespan for something that is going to be special for that family.”

Tronerud said the donation covers the cost of the equipment, installation, and a 5” x 10” commemorative plaque, and the company can make an inset, so the plaque goes inside, making less likely to be damaged or vandalized.

Council member Steve Goble asked if it would be the responsibility of the City if one of the benches or picnic tables get damaged or vandalized.

Tronerud said that it has worked into the contract the lifespan of the bench or picnic table, but in a situation like that he said, “We would absolutely repair, or if possible, restore, or replace. This is something very special for a family member or an organization.”

El Cajon Parks and Rec to offer memorial benches and picnic tables

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Source: East County Californian

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