Memorial tree bench added to Santa Fe Park

Staff writer

A new garden bench surrounds a young maple tree in Santa Fe Park downtown, courtesy of an Eagle Scout project by Marcus Sanders.

Sanders chose the project with encouragement from Beth Potter Eldridge who wanted to have a bench built in memory of her mother, Marie Potter, who enjoyed her daughter’s adopted community, Peabody.

“I picked an octagonal design and picked a small tree in the park that would have room to grow in the center of the bench,” Sanders said. “There are lots of designs for tree benches. Dave Blythe, Lindsay Hutchison’s dad, works in construction and he helped me pick a design that would be good and sturdy, but also basic. He helped me build the frame.”

Earlier this year, he presented his proposed project to Peabody City Council and received permission to put the bench in Santa Fe Park.

On Thursday and Friday, Sanders and fellow scouts Zach Stephey, Nate Corino, Chance Johnson, and Mason Schreiber were joined by several volunteers from the community who helped the young men dig holes for the legs, secure the legs to patio blocks for support and balance, and fill the holes under the blocks with sand. Levels were used at each adjustment until the entire unit was parallel with the ground. The legs, constructed of 4 x 4 treated lumber and the frame built of 2 x 4s was firmly entrenched in the ground.

Brown composite boards were cut to fit the seating area and screwed onto the frame. Sand and pea-sized decorative gravel will be added to the area around the tree inside the bench circle.

“I am also going to get a small plaque to put on the bench facing the street that says it was built and dedicated in Marie Potter’s memory,” Sanders said.

Money to pay for materials was donated from a memorial fund in Potter’s name and from Scout fundraising projects.

Eagle Scout service projects are an opportunity for the scout to demonstrate leadership while performing a service for the community.

“I needed to get the project completed by the time I turn 18,” Sanders said. “I’ll be 18 on Thursday so I was definitely on a tight schedule.”

Sanders will turn in his paperwork about his work on the bench, a report and pictures of the work being done, and pictures of the finished project.

“I’ll present my Eagle book to the board of review in Wichita and they will evaluate what I have done,” Sanders said. “I also have an interview with the board of review and they will decide if I get my Eagle award.”

“It is good to think the bench will be around for years in memory of Marie Potter,” he added. “It was a good project.”

Community volunteers included Janine Foth, Larry Lago, Nelson Patton, Carol Smith, Scott Weber, and Frank and Janice Woodruff.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2016