Bench proposed for Payson memorial program

Already the town has a waiting list for a memorial program that would allow donors to pay for a bench, a bike rack or plant a tree in memory of a loved one.

A memorial program where residents could honor loved ones by planting a tree, buying a park bench or installing a bike rack with plaques is in the works.

Already 11 people are on a waiting list with the Town of Payson’s Parks and Recreation Department awaiting approval of the memorial program.

Assistant Town Manager Kevin Arntz assured the council during its Oct. 28 meeting that all costs for the memorial and any site work would be paid for by the customer.

“The program would have a full cost recovery,” said Arntz.

Staff have put together a set of guidelines, but from council questions at a recent meeting, some details still need negotiation.

“There are size requirements for the tree,” said Arntz, but no allowances for a plaque.

Councilor Jolynn Schinstock asked if donors could add a plaque to the tree.

“That would be a question for the maintenance supervisor,” said Arntz.

Council member Jim Ferris had concerns about “unintended consequences.”

“If someone wanted to come out and put a memorial bench for George Floyd, boy, talking about hitting them below the belt. I don’t want that possibility to exist,” he said.

Ferris suggested controlling what they put on plaques.

Contract Town Attorney John Paladini cautioned limiting a paid message, “gets difficult operationally” especially “if there is somebody here that was named George Floyd,” but agreed to investigate it.

Council member Scott Nossek said he supported the new program.

“This is a beautiful thing. Please implement it as soon as we can,” he said.

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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