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Roy G. Guerrero Park Bench Donation

posted Apr 24, 2012, 7:38 AM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Apr 24, 2012, 7:49 AM ]
contributed by Donald & Niki Shults (D+N.S)

The situation is still pretty fluid. I like the idea of donating a bench to a local park in the name of the Central Texas Association. I suggest Roy G. Guerrero only because it's a nice park that doesn't have a lot of caches that is about to have a big influx in traffic when it re-opens (the disc golf course they are building there is huge and impressive. They are designing it with professional play in mind.  This alone will draw some new people to the area) and I figure it's as good of a place as any.

Want to help? Have some ideas?

If you would like to help with this project, please let me know.
  • Have some ideas on how to promote it?
  • Know some bureaucratic loopholes?
  • Handy with park bench building and design?
  • Good with graphic arts to help design coins, memorabilia, and give aways?
Please contact Donald Shultz (Geocaching.com: D+N.S)

Currently, it feels like a "memorial bench" with a discover-able TB number is the path of least resistance. It could also be used as starting point for a simple Q&A style multi-cache and possibly as a reason for a CITO event. In a perfect world, someone would volunteer to create a custom icon for the trackable. I have an ammo can I would gladly donate towards the multi.  The problem with this, is that it's a bit expensive ($2,400) and is a little anti-climactic.

A more exciting alternative is to build a bench that is also a cache. The gentlemen I spoke with seemed to steer me away from this as it would require some bureaucratic hoops and approval. Ideally, building (maybe buying?) something like this or this and putting a lock on it (for muggles who just want to have a seat) associated with an easy puzzle would show the hobby off at it's best.

I posted to the Central Texas Geocacher's forum (mailing list), and unfortunately, judging form my communication thus far, we might hit some road blocks and have to get some approval. I am sure a lot of people will be reluctant to sign off on something unusual like this. It might be worth a try though. It seems like the main concern is supplies used. I wonder how interested a place like Tree House would be in donating some recycled plastic, or giving us a discount for a park bench?

I don't mind pursuing it and seeing where they go. As for plans... I don't have any drawn up, beyond having some examples that I imagine. Hopefully there is a craftsmen in our ranks that would be willing to give us some more sophisticated help. Otherwise, bids on the project would need to be budgeted.  The major disadvantages beyond permission and complexity for this, is that it would not be allowed to be marked with a plaque noting our donation, nor could it promote the hobby.

I wrote an email to the parks department:

Hi Donald,
Thanks so much for your interest in donating a bench to an Austin Park.  We really appreciate it.
The two main options for donating a bench are:
1.)  Donate a standard park bench from the park amenity catalog (Recycled Plastic Model is $650 plus shipping and install, Metal Bench is $1,800 plus shipping and install).  The standard benches do not include any type of marker or plaque.
2.)  Donate a memorial bench that comes with a dedication plaque ($2,400)
Unfortunately, the Parks Department cannot accept most homemade benches made from wood and similar materials.  It is possible to consider a custom bench built by a craftsperson or artisan as long as the bench is of a comparable quality of construction to the standard benches and is made of similar durable and sustainable materials.  Also, the bench could not include any markers or messaging or promote a particular hobby.  This would be the exception to the standard benches and the design, materials and builder would need to be reviewed and approved in advance.
An artist designed and built item would be coordinated by the City's Art in Public Places Program.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything else you need.
and so I asked

I have a few more questions before I come back to the group with this. Forgive me if they are a little dumb:)

What sort of info can be put on a memorial bench? For example could it simply say

"Donated By:

Central TX Geocachers Assoc
Date - ##/##/####

Or is that even too personalized (the number on the bottom is something geocachers could use to mark a "visit" the bench) of info?

Also, if a custom bench were created and approved as a piece of art, is there a possibility of still marking it with a "memorial plaque" if the $2,400 was paid?

Do you have any alternative ideas for things that could be possibly donated that we have maybe not considered.

I really appreciate your response and time. I hope we're not being too much of a bother.

Thank You,

Donald Shults
They responded with:

Hi Donald,
These are good questions!  No bother at all.
The memorial bench plaque has three lines of text.  I don't see why we couldn't have the geocaching # on the plaque.  We don't do company names or any type of advertising or cause marketing on the plaques, but any type of neutral message is ok.  The main challenge is trying to make everything fit.  Each line is approx 25-30 characters.   This seems like a good option to me.
The only option for the plaque in the park is through the bench program.
I think this may be the best option to meet your needs for a donated item that includes the dedication language and the TB#.

And this is where it stands. I think raising money using kickstarter.com and posting about the project on geocaching.com and other sites would be the best course of action. I work in film and video production and would gladly donate video content for the kickstarter page. I only suggest kick-starter because it's clean, trustworthy, and lets people keep their money if the whole thing fails to reach it's funding goals. If we did do a kickstarter, some path tags, coins or tee-shirts as thank you gifts might help make it happen. Designs for such items, would hopefully be donated by members. Not sure how we'd pay for the actual items.  Even without any "gifts" to drive funding, I think kickstarter is the simplest method to raise the money.