New Fountain Park benches dedicated
CHESTERTOWN — The Chestertown Garden Club has donated new metal benches to Fountain Park.
At a dedication ceremony Saturday afternoon, Mayor Chris Cerino praised the garden club members for the work they do to maintain the park and beautify the whole downtown area.
About 50 residents were on hand to see the 16 new benches and partake of snacks and beverages supplied by the garden club. Among them were council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper and Marty Stetson and Town Manager Bill Ingersoll.
Cerino said that when he learned the new benches would cost $15,000, he thought the project was “really ambitious.” But the whole set — which includes 10 backless benches outlining the brick circle around the fountain — was paid for by donations to the garden club, he said. He noted the benches’ “refined Victorian elegance” and their sturdiness. “They’ll be here 30 years,” he said.
The old wooden benches, several of which were decorated by local students, are scheduled to be installed at the Ajax playground off Cross Street and in Washington Park, Ingersoll said at a town council meeting a few weeks ago.
Cerino said the town is also working to restore the grass in the southwest quadrant of the park, where it is showing signs of heavy use. He said the town will be hiring a groundskeeping company to aerate and irrigate the turf.
Beryl Kemp, the garden club president, thanked Ingersoll and the committee that oversaw the bench project: Barb MacBeth, Karen O’Connor and Michele Schweikle.
MacBeth spoke, recognizing several of those who contributed to the club’s vision for the park. In addition to the town council and staff, they included Bill Nuttle, whose 1978 drawings were the basis for landscape architect Miles Barnard’s recommendations for the refurbishing of the park, including the addition of new flower beds to define the entrances and walkways. A donation from the Chestertown Lions Club paid for the widening of the brick sidewalk on the High Street side of the park. And Ralph Dowling of The Peoples Bank donated tulip bulbs — and helped plant them on a cold November day.
Donors, in addition to the garden club itself, were club members Kemp, Mary Anne SheaReynolds, Diane Kalter and her family, Helen Guastavino and her family, Holly Bramble and family, and MacBeth and her brother Ben. Others included Charles Lerner and Jan Brandon.
Several of the donors were present to enjoy the benches they had sponsored. Each bench bears a commemorative plaque, often with the name of a loved one the donor wished to remember.