Memorial benches placed in park settings are a lovely way to honor the memory of a loved one. Kingwood has a history of being known as “The Livable Forest” and, although some of the forest has given way to new villages and shopping areas, wildlife can still be seen in the forest if you know where to look.
Parks offer the perfect setting for finding nature and for placing memorials to honor those that have gone before.
In Kingwood, there are several parks in which to place a memorial bench or a memorial tree to honor a loved one and it is becoming common among many individuals, groups and organizations.
The Kingwood Service Association (KSA) has specific guidelines that determine what kind of bench is suitable for individual parks, such as River Grove Park, East End Park, Creekwood Nature Area, Deer Ridge Park and Northpark Recreation Area. They have guidelines with photos of the bench styles that go with each park.
Mary Alice at KSA recently guided a local family on the selection and installation of a memorial bench for River Grove Park to honor a resident who recently passed away following a bout with cancer.
The man had spent many days lunching at the park with his wife during his bout with cancer and chemo treatments. He loved the chance to see the water and feed the turtles. His family arranged for the bench to be installed in his memory.
Alice explained that KSA receives the order and payment for the bench plus installation fee, then has the bench installed according to specifications. She also suggested an online company that is a reliable source for obtaining the recommended stainless steel, laser-engraved plaque. It takes several weeks from the beginning of the ordering process to the completion of the installed bench.
Installation of a memorial bench specifically for River Grove Park typically costs $1,000 to $1,200, depending on the vendor. Installation is an additional fee and can run several hundred dollars.
River Grove Park now has at least three memorial benches in place. Two benches are located near the boat ramp and one is under a tree in the soccer fields area. Each bench has its own personal sentiments engraved on the stainless-steel plaques.
The sentiments on a memorial bench’s engraved plaque undoubtedly complete its overall appearance and aesthetic. Some people like to include personal texts, quotes, pictures, Scriptures, or a combination of all of these elements. No matter what the selection is, be sure to take ample time during this step. In doing so, sentiments and heartfelt memories about the loved one are captured for all to see. Park visitors can start a conversation based on nothing more than the sentiments on the plaque about someone they never knew. In other words, the plaque can tell a story.
Just as the name suggests, memorial garden benches are pieces of furniture that venerate someone who has passed away. Once the memorial bench is installed, the family and friends of the loved one often want to hold a dedication to mark the event. The dedications can be as simple or elaborate as one chooses.
For example, to hold a dedication at River Grove Park, it is necessary to make a reservation with the KSA for the pavilion if your gathering will have refreshments and present a deposit check in the amount of $150. This check will be returned if the area is not damaged. Also, the friends and family who are visiting from outside the Kingwood area, will need temporary “K” stickers for their vehicles while in the park. All vehicles parked in KSA parks must display a numbered “K” sticker.
“K” stickers may be obtained in person at the KSA office, 1075 Kingwood Drive, Suite 100, Monday — Friday from 9 a.m. — 5 p.m.
The KSA also has information on their website regarding their Memorial Tree Planting Program.
For a donation of $250, an appropriate tree approximately 6 feet tall will be planted in memory of a friend or loved one in a Kingwood parks.
An application form is available on the website along with contact information.
“In addition to the tree planting, you will receive a space on the Kingwood Service Association website — Memorial Page,” KSA states on its website. “You may provide us a digital picture of your loved one and furnish a customized 50-word-or-less dedication. The Memorial Page on the website will include your dedication, photo and explanation of the tree planting.”
“Your tree will be planted, mulched, fertilized, pruned and watered for two years by The Kingwood Service Association. If the tree dies within that time, it will be replaced by another tree at no additional cost. To ensure the highest survival rate, your tree will be planted between Oct. 30 and April 30. We will help you determine an appropriate species and location for your memorial tree.”
KSA Parks Foundation Inc. is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization.
For more information call 281-358-5192 or visit kingwoodserviceassociation.org.