Eastern Star bench still homeless

By Lenny C. Lepola - For The Gazette

Becky Hayes appeared before Sunbury Village Council June 1, seeking permission to place a white marble bench on Village Square.

Hayes said the bench, already paid for and delivered, would be a donation of the Order of the Eastern Star, a Freemason body that was active in Sunbury from 1894.

A previous request to locate the bench on Village Square was denied by members of council’s parks and safety committee.

Hayes said the commemorative bench could not be placed on Masonic property in Delaware because that Masonic property belongs to the state.

“The Eastern Star has supported this community,” Hayes said. “We want to place the bench on Sunbury Square because of its history. This is where our first home was, and it’s Sunbury’s bicentennial year.”

Hayes said the bench is sitting at the Snyder Funeral Home in Delaware, that it’s paid for, and installation has been paid for.

“It wouldn’t cost the village anything,” Hayes said.

Parks committee member Scott Weatherby said his committee is tasked with deciding what makes sense to place on Village Square.

“We didn’t feel this made sense,” Weatherby said. “No disrespect, but we want things to be consistent with what’s already here. Maybe at the Martindale Park, but we really haven’t made a final decision.”

Council member Tim Gose said it would make more sense to wait until the parks committee has completed its parks master plan before placing a permanent marble bench on the square.

“This would be like putting the cart before the horse,” Gose said. “We’re honored that the Eastern Star would think about us, but we’re not sure it would fit in.”

Mayor Tommy Hatfield said that council members preferred to avoid locating the bench in a specific area, and then calling Hayes in a year to say it’s being moved.

Hayes said, historically speaking, it belongs on Village Square.

“They ordered this in 2014, not knowing it wouldn’t be accepted,” Hayes said. “It’s just sitting over there and I signed for it.”

Council member Len Weather said it’s not that the village would not want the bench; it’s a question of where it would be appropriate.

By Lenny C. Lepola

For The Gazette

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: newsguy@ee.net.

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: newsguy@ee.net.