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Issue date: March 31, 2000

Bench is personal tribute Bench is personal tribute (March 31, 2000)

Public art memorializes man who loved park

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

A mosaic love seat was installed mid-March in a small grove of redwoods next to the trail in Kottinger Park, opposite Salvador Court. It is sure to be a resting place for passersby - either to sit, or to stand and admire its artistry.

And all who see it must wonder: How does this unusual seat happen to be here?

It is "Pat's Bench" - Sandy Milne's tribute to her husband in memory of the many happy hours he spent walking the Kottinger Park trail before he passed away several years ago.

"'Pat's Bench' is certainly symbolic of the years of living that transpired as Pat and I walked that park," said Sandy Milne.

Milne knew she wanted some kind of remembrance in the park her husband loved. She approached the city and found out its preference for public art. She met with public art consultant Lynne Baer, who chose artist Laurel True of True Designs in Oakland to design the tile and glass bench.

"I learned from Sandy that Pat was a warm, friendly person whose preferred greeting was a hug," said True. "That led to the enclosed design of a love seat, a comfortable enveloping piece that lends itself to the room-like feel of the redwood grove.

"All the design details like colors, symbols and borders represent Pat's favorite things. They add a spiritual element to the piece for those who knew him and, for others, add to the overall artistic expression of the piece."

"Pat's Bench" is not the first piece of memorial art in Pleasanton. "Girl Reading," at the Pleasanton Public Library, was donated by a family in memory of their daughter. Also the library area may become home to a whimsical winged bronze frog, which was donated by Almer Wood in honor of her husband, former City Councilman Walt Wood.

"In view of Pleasanton's restrictions regarding conventional memorials, works of art like 'Pat's Bench' are an excellent alternative," said Civic Arts Manager Andy Jorgensen. "And we're beginning to develop a public art wish list for specified areas."

He added that several sites in Pleasanton Sports Park are designed for art, and that although the city has high standards for its public art, the cost need not be excessive.

"Donors with limited budgets can afford pieces that express their affection for their loved ones, and city staff is certainly willing and able to work with them to explore the possibilities," said Jorgensen. <@$p>

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