There seems to be a certain charm about a park bench when it comes to bringing folks together. And when checking out park benches for sale, think about the type of bench, but also the people who will be sitting on those planks as well.
Park benches have a magnetic allure that is conducive to one person engaging with another – whether it’s in a deep conversation with a friend or an first-time talk with a complete stranger.
This was very evident in a recent project conducted by Neighborhoods Inc., a non-profit organization in Northwest Indiana.
To help foster the interaction of people in their community, the organizers placed a park bench in front of 22 homes in a town of about 30,000 people. They included a sign that read, “Please have a seat.”
Their efforts were effective. People now had a reason to stop and chat with the home owner or others in the area.
Neighbors, strollers, joggers, school children, people walking their dogs and others found the outdoor park benches a pleasant place to sit, take a break and meet someone in their community. Participants said the benches were great “ice-breakers.” The program strengthened bonds in a community beset by high crime rates and high unemployment.
The project was a success and Neighborhoods Inc. drew up plans to add more benches to more communities. Today there are nearly 70 benches out there promoting camaraderie in different neighborhoods.
What is it about outdoor park benches that makes people comfortable?
Famous actor Steven Buscemi created an avant-garde talk show for AOL that he calls “Park Bench.” The show simply involves people sitting on a bench and chatting. Buscemi knew there was something special about an outdoor park bench that just helped people open up and establish a warmer rapport with one another.
One blogger said it best when describing the power of a bench: “I’m not always comfortable talking face-to-face. It’s easier for me to sit next to someone with the option of staring into the distance or both of us getting up for a walk. Some of my deepest conversations, with people and with God, have taken place on park benches – at the edge of a mountain trail, in a park, next to a playground, in the courtyard of an apartment complex, at a bus stop on a busy street.”
What creates this welcome atmosphere? The fresh air of the outdoors? The openness of the surroundings? The greenery and the colors? We suspect it is all these things.
The type of bench probably doesn’t matter. There are plenty of different styles of park benches for sale.
You can choose from the traditional wooden park bench or Victorian bench. Or, help the environment with more advanced technology – recycled plastic benches manufactured from old milk jugs and water bottles. There are metal benches and steel benches that can be coated in thermoplastic or powder coating to make them more durable and easier to clean. Some situations might call for an aluminum bench or fiberglass bench, which are lightweight and can be easily moved. Perhaps a location is best suited for concrete benches or cement benches, which are virtually indestructible and can only be moved with a forklift.
Parks generally have tight budgets. But the great thing about a bench is there is a proven solution to funding challenges. Start a memorial bench program. Have people purchase outdoor park benches in the name of a loved one. We’ve seen many parks and communities where they can no longer accept memorial benches, they literally have run out of locations to place them
And that’s the key. What’s vitally important is where you place the park benches as well.
Certainly high traffic areas. Playgrounds as well. Moms and dads need a break while they watch their frenetic children swinging, climbing and sliding non-stop. A location with a nice view is always an ideal spot for a bench – maybe overlooking a pond or grassy area. A place with shade certainly creates an enticing environment. Maybe a location near the entrance to a trail where joggers or hikers are likely to stop and tie their shoes before they start or take a break when they return.
Consider this. When you place benches where people gather who have mutual interests, say a playground or near a jogging trail, that commonality will also foster interaction between those people.
A mom sits on a bench and meets another mom. A runner stops to catch his breath and meets up with a runner just starting to stretch. At an area with dog park equipment, one owner will sit down while Fido runs around. She is likely to be joined by another dog owner who just unleashed Max who is now circling the perimeter at full gallop with his friends.
You get the picture. This magical allure of a park bench isn’t necessarily limited to parks either. Check out park benches for sale and add more of them to schools or multi-family housing complexes, shopping malls or retirement homes.
The more benches you add, the more opportunities you create for people to mingle with others.
What’s great about a park bench is that you can tighten bonds within any community for a small investment. You don’t need to build a large, expensive community center. With a parking lot. And a driveway from the road. Let Mother Nature supply the roof and the walls.
People don’t need a building to connect. All they need is a place where they can stop their hurried lives, take a break, talk to a friend or maybe strike up a conversation with a fellow human being they’ve never met before. A park bench provides the atmosphere to make this happen.
To see a large selection of park benches for sale, visit The Park Catalog, which has supplied parks, HOAs, schools, universities, shopping centers and other entities with a large variety of park benches since 2001.