Aberdeen approves new memorial bench program

ABERDEEN – The Aberdeen Town Board met Monday, August 28, with consideration of a handful of internal requests on the agenda. 

To start the meeting, two officers – Cameron Parent and Kirsten Czako, took their Oath of Offices, and another, Jimmy Covington, was promoted to Sergeant before the board and meeting attendees.  

“This is a great event,” said Mayor Robbie Farrell. “It’s always good for the board to see this happen. We’re so glad that you’re going to work for the Town of Aberdeen. These men and women are the reason that you can sleep well at night. They’re the ones who go out here and work tirelessly for the citizens of this town, and a lot of the time, it’s a thankless job. But we thank you from this board.” 

The board then approved a new Parks and Recreation Memorial Bench Program.  

“The Parks and Recreation Department got a request to do memorial benches in the park,” said Parks and Recreation Director Adam Crocker. “We did not have a program in place, so I set out to get some examples and put together a program for the town. I think it’s a great way for people to memorialize family and friends, and I think it would definitely be a benefit to the parks.” 

According to Crocker, the process would involve interested parties submitting a form to the Parks and Recreation Department for approval that includes which park and where in that park the submitter would like. The Parks and Recreation Department would then review the form to make sure the location is suitable.  

The process would also require the funding of a bench to come from the submitter, which currently is $1,000, although fluctuating costs may see that price change in the future, according to Crocker. 

“It would be good for 10 years, meaning we’d keep the bench in its place for 10 years, at which point they’d have a chance to renew that process if the bench needed to be replaced,” Crocker said. “If the bench didn’t need to be replaced, we’d keep it longer, but that is the minimum we’d keep it in place.” 

The board also approved the addition of a new Parks and Recreation position – Parks Maintenance Superintendent – as well as the upgrade of another position in the Planning Department – Assistant Planning Director. 

“In the last six months, there’s been a lot of talk about how maybe we can do a little bit more at the parks and with their upkeep,” said Town Manager Paul Sabiston. “We actually had several good candidates for the position. So we felt like it was a good opportunity to try and increase the staff. 

“With a third person on the maintenance side, they won’t just be sitting in an office doing paperwork; they’ll be out cutting grass, directing and this position will require just a little bit more skill and expertise about how to deal with grass, how to plant shrubs, what goes where and organizing and really delegating the workload to the two existing employees. We need somebody who can be out in the field 85% of the time looking at it, checking it really almost daily if not weekly adjustments.” 

“What we’re looking for with the planning upgrade is that we have a senior planner position that’s vacant now, and we’re looking to hire for that position,” Sabiston said. “We’ve come across a very high-level, skilled planning person who is probably above that just bread and butter planning position and more of an assistant or top-level senior planner position. It’s kind of like sometimes if you look at a higher level for a planner position in general, you can’t find anybody at the lower level because they’re going elsewhere or aren’t out there, but we looked for a higher level, and we found one.” 

According to Sabiston, the anticipation is that the funding for the positions will come from net funds from increased revenues as well as money designated for other positions that are currently vacant. 

The board also approved an ordinance declaring a temporary road closure in relation to the Farmers Market on South Sycamore Street that will be held on October 27 from 3-9 p.m. 

The Aberdeen Town Board will next meet September 25. 

By Ryan Henkel

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