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Project underway for park benches

PRINCETON – The Princeton Park District has come up with a new program to help accessorize Zearing Park.

The Park Bench Donation/Memorial Program will provide a way for the community to remember loved ones or special events by giving a donation for a bench to be placed within the park.

Park District Executive Director Elaine Russell explained the program is not a money-making project, it’s the district’s way to get benches installed.

“The path around both the older and newer sections of Zearing Park are used on a constant basis,” she said. “It will be great for individuals to be able to stop and rest along the way and enjoy nature.”

Russell anticipates the cost per bench will be between $1,500 and $1,600. She said the cost includes a 6-foot hunter green color bench, installation of the bench on a concrete slab, with either a 5-by-7-inch or 10-by-14-inch aluminum memorial plaque.

“The figure will cover our costs,” said Russell.  “We are not making money on it, but what we are gaining park benches.”

The different options for plaque sizes will give a donor the option to display a short or long message with the bench. Russell said she wanted to give donors the option to do either, since they were the ones investing in the cost of the project.

Once the final details for the project our complete, interested donors will be able to select a location for their bench on a map provided by the park district.

“Our goal is to begin with showing 12 locations for individuals to choose from for their bench,” said Russell.

The park district anticipates to have brochures by April that will include a map of where the benches will be placed, and the plan is to begin installation of the benches sometime this Spring.

In other news, the board on Monday:

• Discussed specifications to purchase a 2013 utility tractor for mowing the Zearing Park soccer fields and open areas. The district’s Superintendent of Parks Keith Scherer explained he was looking at a 55-horsepower diesel tractor with a 15-foot batwing mower. The purchase is one the park board approved in its fiscal year budget. The board anticipates spending around $50,000 on the tractor.

• Discussed needed repairs and updates to the Bureau County Metro Center parking lot. Scherer said the project is something he is planning to get done this year. He said repairs and improvements are needed on the parking lot island and the lot’s back parking area.

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