Council OKs Giddings' Bench, Sets Standard for Future
Friends of Lauren Giddings said they never thought the suggested memorial for their slain friend would have become such a story.
"I never thought we would be at city council," said Sarah Gerwig.
After the proposed monument ran into some problems, the thought of the bench in Washington Park, also seemed like it would never happen. That's until city council unanimously approved the placement of the monument in Tuesday's night meetings.
"I was really pleased to see unanimous support amongst the committee today. That's what we all hoped for and that's what we ended up getting," said Gerwig.
"I knew we had to go through the proper channels, and I understand what the resistance is because you need something in place to take care of other request that would come in the future," added Scott Tisdale, designer of the bench.
That something would be a nine page resolution drawn up by Councilman Louis Tompkins stating guidelines upon which a monument or memorial can be erected.
"The purpose of the legislation was basically to put policies and procedures in place so that an individual who desires to memorialize a loved one who has lost his or her life through whatever means can do so," said Tompkins.
Tompkins said it would be a consultative process where nothing would be superimposed, but the city will still reserve the right to deny any and all donations.
Tompkins resolution stated that no items will be erected unless it is consistent with relevant park plans.
An application must be submitted to the Public Works Department and applicants must cover the cost of construction.
Items pushing a religious or political agenda will be rejected and once donated the item becomes the property of the city where the city can remove, relocate, or sell without the consent or knowledge of the donor.
The entire resolution is available on the Public Works website.
As for the disagreement between council members, Tompkins said that's just part of the job.
"We are a group of council persons who debate, but through debate decisions are made. And after debate you either vote up or you vote down," said Tompkins.
Giddings' friends plan on revealing the bench on August 25 during a memorial service in Washington Park.