Private donations fund bench replacement project for Monument Park

2 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Houlton’s Monument Park will receive a bit of a makeover this spring, thanks to the generous donations of local residents.

Marie Carmichael, director of the Houlton Recreation Department, told members of the Houlton Town Council on April 11 that she had received donations totaling $8,925 from seven families to purchase memorial benches.

The seven new benches will be erected in the park, replacing five worn and damaged benches. The remaining two benches will be additions, placed near the entrance and walkway of the Cary Memorial Library.

“The generosity of the people in this town continues to delight me,” councilor Sue Tortello said. “This is just wonderful.”

Carmichael said the idea for replacing and expanding the benches arose in late 2021, when resident Donna Colter approached her to have a bench placed in memory of her husband Clifford.

“This gesture prompted me to look at replacing the remainder of the benches in the park,” Carmichael said. 

She placed a post on the social media platform Facebook to gauge public interest in the bench project, and within a few weeks enough money had been raised to fund seven new benches. 

The following people donated to the project: Belyea family, in memory of Bill and Gladys; Hutchinson family, in memory of Darcie Hutchinson; Paige Fitzpatrick, in memory of Allan Fitzpatrick; Hughes Family, in memory of Harold and Hilda Hughes’ family and descendents; Iva and Ted Sussman, in memory of John Madigan; and Mailman Family, in memory of Dellie Mailman.

As soon as the benches arrive, the town’s Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments will assemble them for placement. The benches will be in the same design as the new benches placed in Pierce Park last summer, as part of a donation to the town by the Houlton Masonic Lodge No. 96.

“We appreciate the donations we received for these benches,” Houlton Town Manager Marian Anderson said. “We also appreciate Marie’s work in making this happen.”