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After Rehab, the Downtown Benches Are Back — Now With Anti-Sleeping Brackets

Downtown Evansville benches-1.jpg
Tim Jagielo
After being removed in the spring, the park benches along Main Steet and parts of 4th were returned last week. They were repainted, planed (smoothed out) and re-stained.

Park Bench Rehabilitation project cost $45,000; benches repainted and planed with ‘tabletops’ added for convenience, deter reclining

Intro for audio:
You might have noticed the return of the more than 100 benches to downtown Evansville last week. This was part of a rehab project that started this spring. WNIN’s Tim Jagielo has details.

If you were looking for a place to sit on Main Street and parts of Fourth street, you now have about 110 choices as of last week.

This spring, every bench downtown was unbolted and taken away, disassembled, the metal repainted, the wood slats planed and re-stained and reassembled. They were returned for lounging duty just last week.

Department of Metropolitan Development Executive Director Kelly Coures said this is the first time they’ve been rehabilitated since installation more than a decade ago.

“And they were getting kind of faded from the sun and the winter and the snow. I mean, it takes a toll on them, you know? They need to get them stained and replaced every so often.”

The project cost $45,000, and Coures says it was way cheaper than replacing them.

downtown bench composite.jpg
Tim Jagielo
The benches were reinstalled with either metal brackets (left) or brackets with 'tabletops' added.

Coures says the city also requested what he describes as ‘tabletops’ added to the benches, which he says is for placing a laptop or a drink.

“… to increase their utility, we had some little tabletops manufactured for them,” he said. “There's other cities that have made greater use of their urban park benches like that.”

Not every bench has these little flat pieces of steel upon which you can set a cup or your phone. Some just have metal brackets in the center. He says these are to discourage laying on park benches.

“We've had complaints, you know about people sleeping on them. It's dangerous for people to sleep on a bench like that, especially in an urban place like downtown.”

It is estimated that every night in Evansville hundreds of people are experiencing homelessness every night.

Downtown Evansville benches-4.jpg
Tim Jagielo
Benches along the west side of Main Street in Evansville.