The first benches ordered were from an out-of-state company. There was really no lengthy discussion about what would be a good fit for our Greenway and the result was the benches you see today. They consist of a heavy-duty, green, metal seat and back, with concrete ends suitable for placing a message on either end by the donor. Since 2001, more than two dozen of these benches have been ordered and placed along the Greenway, bringing relief to tired walkers and runners.
However, these benches have not been without flaws. Although made for outdoor use and heavy enough to survive a flooding event, a weakness in the curvature of the design has resulted in several breakages when tipped over. Unfortunately, a small number of mischievous Greenway patrons have discovered this weakness and destroyed several of our benches.
For the last year, an alternative bench has been sought. Finding a design that is sturdy, attractive and comfortable has proven difficult.
At the September meeting of the Greenway board, a presentation was made to completely change the concept of our Greenway benches. The following aspects were taken into consideration:
1. New concept needed;
2. Local/regional flavor desired;
3. Each bench should incorporate the new emphasis on public art;
4. A local artist was desired;
5. Each bench would incorporate the same concept, but be “one-of-a-kind”; and
6. No shipping costs to keep the price as close to the current price as possible.
Concepts were presented and the board gave the green light to pursue a new bench design. Although the design will not be unveiled until later this year or at the start of 2013, I can say it will incorporate all of the above and include the use of natural materials. And, it will be a radical departure from the current bench design. Local artist Joshua Coleman, creator of the “Big Yellow Chair” (a.k.a. “Sitting Tall”) and a member of the Greenway Public Arts Committee, has been commissioned to present the design concepts and will be working toward unveiling the new design.
As much as the benches have become a part of our Greenway, it will be exciting to see new benches being placed, particularly along Phases 4 and 5, north of Raider Drive. These new benches will fit even more naturally into the landscape of the Greenway.
Anyone interested in purchasing a bench, or wishing to obtain more information, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.