Hallowed Ground park benches to be dedicated on Saturday

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:12

    Warwick-Five park benches will be placed in the Hallowed Ground Park at Forester and Galloway, a gift of Jill Ayers Moering to the Village and to the people of Warwick, and will be dedicated on Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m. The benches are in memory of Ayers family members. Village officials and Warwick Conservancy trustees will preside. Last year, Ms. Ayers Moering, who grew up in Warwick, generously matched private funds donated to the Warwick Conservancy's fund-raising drive to buy the property and turn it over to the Village for a public park. The sum of $175,000 was raised from private and corporate donations and a state grant for that purchase, and the park was dedicated last July 5. As part of her contribution, Ms. Ayers Moering stipulated that two benches were to be purchased for the park. These were to be in memory of her late father, John Earll Ayers, Sr., 1911-1966 and the late John Earll "Jack" Ayers, Jr., 1944-1965, her brother. More recently, Ms Ayers Moering, who now resides in California, added to her substantial contribution the gift of three additional benches in memory of her grandmother, Laura Benedict Ayers, 1889-1989 and two uncles, Samuel Ayers, 1910-1998 and W. Smith Benedict, 1890-1959. The Ayers family is directly descended from Elder James Benedict, the first minister of the original Old School Baptist Meeting House, which was located at the site of the park in 1765. The benches are constructed of ipe wood and wrought iron, and will be mounted in concrete footings. Ipe is an extremely dense farmed tropical wood which naturally resists rot, decay, insects, and mold without the use of toxic chemicals used in many outdoor products. The sun will eventually transform the wood from its current reddish-brown to a beautiful silver patina. The benches arrived at the Warwick Village Department of Public Works last week from the factory and are being assembled by DPW workers and volunteers prior to installation. Engraved brass plates will bear the names of each Benedict descendant whose life it commemorates, along with short personal dedications from Ms. Ayers Moering. The Warwick Conservancy plans to erect an historic marker at the park, noting the purchase of the property and the July 2003 park dedication. The marker is being purchased with private donations and a grant from the office of the Orange County Historian.