By Mike Steely
If you’ve visited the public parks in Knox County or Knoxville you’ve probably noticed benches in those parks with memorial plaques on them. Ever wonder about those memorials or about how those benches are dedicated to loved ones?
On the Knox County Commission’s agenda for tonight is a brief sentence. It reads “Consideration of a Resolution of the commission of Knox County, Tennessee, requesting approval of a Bench Donation for Justin – Cove Park Concord.”
Like the other park benches donated by individuals and families to parks there’s a story behind that request.
The bench is to be donated, with a plaque, to Justin Dean Lange who died at age 36 last September. The donation comes from his family and his sister, Gwen Langue. Justin Lange was a Bearden High School graduate, an outdoorsman who loved fishing, playing baseball with his nephews and watching UT Vols football with his dad.
The bench will contain a plaque and you may find many such benches and plaques here and there around both city and county parks. But how do you go about donating a bench?
The cost is about $1,500 and benches can be donated in memory or honor of a relative, friend or organization or to celebrate a specific event. The cost of the donation includes the bench, installation and maintenance.
In Knox County anyone interested can contact the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department by calling (865)215-600 or get information on the department’s website at www.knoxcountyparks.org/parks/honors.
In the city you can get information on donating a bench in a park or greenway at the Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department. Their website, www.knoxvilletn.gov/recreation, gives information or you may contact Sheryl Ely at (865) 251-4311.
Benches are 6 feet long, weigh 250 pounds, and made of recycled solid steel. The plaque can have three lines in honor of the person or organization, about 76 characters.