City administrator will meet with Glenwood Lake Park board in September to discuss memorial benches removal policy after local residents reactions

GLENWOOD, Iowa  — Residents can take a stroll, take a rest, and sit on a bench that honors those who came before us at Glenwood Lake Park. The park is located in Glenwood.

Sally Vohs, a resident of Glenwood, is quoted as saying, “We’re all God’s offspring, and ultimately they are, everybody’s families.”

However, hidden behind an old red barn in the park are some deteriorating wooden benches that families have purchased in honor of departed loved ones. The park department started getting rid of these benches a few years ago without first informing the people who would be affected.

Donni Cocklin, a local neighbor, expressed her disapproval by stating that “it’s sort of insulting to the loved ones as well as the individuals who had purchased the bench,” adding that “they could have at least contacted them and let them know.”

Vohs remarked that it seemed as though the loss of the loved one had less of an impact on the community.

What led to this occurrence? According to the City Administrator, Amber Farnan, the city made the move to adopting metal benches a few years ago because of its longer lifespan and higher level of durability.

Recent events have brought attention to the removal of the bench; this week, Farnan received an email from a family who traveled to Glenwood to visit their bench but found that it had been removed.

In an effort to have a better understanding of the situation, Farnan reportedly talked with family members who were adversely affected and learned that the wooden ones had been taken and stacked in a heap. When it happened, people started venting their anger on social networking sites like Facebook.

Farnan is unsure as to why the families were not informed about the removal of the benches. Her objective is to ensure that anything like this does not occur again, because at the moment, there is no removal strategy for park benches.

Farnan stated, “I’d like to put in place a policy that says every effort will be made to contact a family member and/or loved one of the benches, which would include putting that individual’s name in the paper to let them know this bench is scheduled for removal.” “I’d like to put in place a policy that says every effort will be made to contact a family member and/or loved one of the benches.”

The city has, at least for the time being, put a halt to the removal of benches. The wooden benches can be taken by the families, but if they want new ones, they will need to make a new purchase. The families are free to take the benches home with them. Nevertheless, the community experiences an additional loss.

“It’s almost like they’re throwing away that memory, that person’s life,” Cocklin said. “It’s almost like they’re wasting it.”

On September 15, the city administration and the park board will get together to discuss the policy regarding the removal of park benches. The Park Superintendent and the rest of the crew have compiled a list of the benches that are slated to be removed. These particulars are published on their website, as well as on Facebook and in the local newspaper in Glenwood.

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