The Merrickville and District Chamber of Commerce has spearheaded a program allowing people to adopt commemorative benches in the Village.
The Chamber first approached the municipality last year with the idea of having an Adopt-A-Bench program in the Village. Although it was well received by the municipality at the time, they felt that they did not have the resources to run such a program. Therefore, the Chamber offered to run the program if the Village would be willing to be an active participant. “Such programs are very popular and profitable for municipalities,” says Chamber of Commerce President Karl Feige, adding that the Chamber got advice from the program coordinators at the Central Park Adopt-A-Bench program in New York City.
The cost for bench adoption is $2000, up to $500 of which will go to the municipality to help fund upkeep of the benches on municipal property. Council officially received an email from Karl at the last council meeting outlining the program and approved the arrangements made in the report. Karl says they have chosen to use the wording “up to $500” to be given to the municipality in case of unforeseen circumstances where they may need to use some of that money to fund the bench and commemorative plaque. “In most circumstances the Village will receive the full $500,” he says.
The benches are cast-iron or aluminum, with wooden slats, in keeping with the historic look and nature of the Village. Each bench will also have a dedication plaque with the name of the person it is meant to remember. “The adopter will also receive a certificate signed by the mayor,” Karl says.
Karl says that the program has been very well received in it’s short life. Six benches have already been adopted in the Village. “The first bench was placed in the beach area last year,” Karl says. “A bench in honour of Brenda Carter is to go in the bird sanctuary and a third bench near the library is in the works.”