ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene’s parks are full of things to do and see, such as splash pads, statues, playground equipment and ball fields. But the anterior fixtures, like trees and benches, often get far less recognition. Since the mid-90s, the city non-profit Keep Abilene Beautiful has offered a program that allows citizens to make their mark on city parks while honoring a loved one in their life.

Benches at Nelson Park

Jennifer Pacheco, City Coordinator for Keep Abilene Beautiful, shared why this program came to be.

“It’s the celebration bench and tree program, and with it, we allow people to purchase either a bench or a tree, sometimes a bench and a tree and place it in a public park,” said Pacheco. “They get to add a nice little plaque that either celebrates or honors or is in memory of someone that they love,” Pacheco explained.

For $340, a tree can be planted in honor of your loved one. This price includes the first two years of care and growth. For $2,500, a bench along with a commemorative plaque can be installed bearing your loved ones name. That price includes 10 years of maintenance and replacement.

“The biggest proof of the impact is how many people come in daily. Right now, we have seven benches that we are placing on order just for this program alone,” Pacheco said.

Ducks at Nelson Park

Each tree and bench donated stands as a loving reminder of the life being celebrated or honored. Pacheco said each one has a heartwarming story behind it’s placement.

“We’ve seen people come and purchase a tree and a bench for a loved one who’s passed away. We have two brothers who spent a lot of time in Nelson park together growing up, so they purchased benches and placed them side by side there,” Pacheco explained. “And we even have someone who’s purchased a bench and a tree in memory of a beloved pet.”