BRISTOL – Forestville American Legion Post 209 is working with the city staff and a wood shop teacher at Terryville High School to restore the benches at Quinlan Park.
Brian Avery, commander of American Legion Post 209 said that the benches were removed by the city's Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services Department because they were no longer to sit on. They will be restored by Russ Fuller, wood shop teacher at Terryville High School, and returned to the park within the next few weeks.
"They were unsafe to use," said Avery. "Some of the metal supports were missing underneath and the wood was rotted and broken. We are removing the wood and replacing it with new, pressure-treated wood. We're also putting additional supports on the bottom of the benches. They'll then be put back exactly where they were."
Avery thanked Fuller along with Bob Lincoln, supervisor of the Parks Maintenance Division and his workers for their help with this project.
Avery said the restoration project will be paid for with funds provided by American Legion Post 209 and the Veterans Bell Memorial Fund. It is part of the overall restoration and improvement project that American Legion Post 209 is working on.
Avery said that the footing for the concrete pad where the planned Bell Memorial will be should be place starting next week.
"Hopefully, within the next week, the bell itself will be erected in Quinlan Park," said Avery.
The bell made in 1837 by Hartford’s Doolittle Clock and Bell Factory. It was donated to the Legion by the family of Frank Owsianko, of Forestville, who died in 1996. Owsianko had been the owner of Frank's Stationary and Variety, where 150 Central is now. At least 40 years ago, Avery said, he acquired the bell and used to carry it down the street in a flatbed during the Forestville Parade. The bell had been sitting in a shed for the past 25 years. The family then approached Avery about having it be used to honor veterans at Quinlan Park.
Avery will also be meeting with the Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services Department in October to discuss the second phase of improvements at the park. This will entail the erecting of nine flagpoles, three of which will be around the bell and the rest of which will be around the park fence, representing each branch of military service. There will also be personalized brick pavers around the flagpoles.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.