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City of Richmond trying to find families who placed memorials on park benches, tables

Dedicated picnic tables and benches cost between $3,500 and $4,000.
The City of Richmond is looking for families who had memorial benches and tables installed pre-2003.

Did your family dedicate a bench or picnic table to a loved one in Richmond prior to 2003?

The city might be trying to find you over the next few months to see if you want to keep the dedication plaque – for a cost.

The city has been reaching out to families who originally had these benches and picnic tables dedicated to loved ones who had passed away. There were originally 357 such dedications around the City of Richmond.

The city renewed its program in 2003, putting in a 10-year time extension on the program.

At that time, the city sent letters to all the families who had participated in the original program, begun in 1991.

But there were 114 families whose contact information wasn’t up-to-date and they weren’t able to get hold of them – most of these were from before 2003. The city now wants to know if they want to rededicate these city benches and picnic tables.

When city council revisited the issue in 2019, they decided to have another one-time 10-year extension granted for the memorial benches and tables, extending to 2029.

Memorial renewal at day's prices

Those who want to renew will have to pay for it “at current day costs,” a report to city council explains.

Picnic table and bench dedications cost between $3,500 and $4,000.

The city is planning to launch an outreach effort to find these 114 families, including going through social media as well as putting up posters in community centres.

For those families whom the city can’t get in contact with, the city will remove the plaque and replace it for 12 months with a sign asking for them to contact the city.

The plaque will be in storage during this time. If no one comes forward with a year, the plaque will be in storage for another six years.

The original program, which began in 1991, was created to pay for trees, park benches and picnic tables in popular parks, along the waterfront and on trails, according to the report going to city council’s parks and recreation meeting next week.

Trees can also be planted in memory of a loved one on city property, and this costs $650.

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