Resident forms committee to bring benches to Duck Pond

Resident forms committee to bring benches to Duck Pond
Area at Colonial Manor Lake Park where Suzanne Honeycutt proposes to build artistic duck pond benches.

It may take a while, but if neighborhood organizer Suzanne Honeycutt has her way, duck pond benches may eventually come to San Marco’s popular Duck Pond.

Honeycutt, who has a better than bird’s eye view of Colonial Manor Lake Park from her porch, has assembled a committee of friends and neighbors to raise money and oversee the design of unique benches to replace the wooden seating adjacent to the water’s edge along Old San Jose Boulevard.

Joining Honeycutt on the committee are San Marco residents Susan Prattos, Troy Winn, Valerie Feinberg, Cathe Gray, Cathye Onur and Emily Wieger.

Although nothing is yet set in stone, Honeycutt said she has approached Kate and Kenny Rouh, mosaic artists who have constructed other tile-based projects in Jacksonville, to possibly create some artistic benches to coordinate with the duck-based theme.

In an email to Honeycutt Aug.1, the Rouhs forwarded a preliminary sketch of bench in a “recognizable duck shape that would optimize seating” while being an “impressive and inspiring sculpture for the park.” The proposed benches might be comprised of three connected parts: a duck-shaped center body, two wings as seating and a “mosaic surface treatment” designed by Kate Rouh. The benches would sit on a “pond-shaped foundation slab.”

Craig Pedroni of Pedroni’s Cast Stone, and the City of Jacksonville Engineering would also need to be involved with the project, the Rouhs said in their email. “The scope of work and cost for preparation by COJ must be determined and accounted for in your fundraising,” they advised.

Tia Ford, a spokesperson for the City of Jacksonville, said in an email that Daryl Joseph, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, is aware of the project “as it was shared in a public meeting” but has not seen any sketches at this point. “Parks has not been engaged in any formal meetings specifically related to this effort to date and no meetings are currently scheduled,” she said.

Honeycutt’s idea is to bring some “nostalgic” art to the park that might provide yet another “focal point” for San Marco.

“It’s so sweet. I constantly see a stream of families taking Christmas and Easter photos as well as brides and grooms who get their pictures taken there,” she said of the pond. “If the benches get made, it will be even more of a focal point.”

Honeycutt said she hopes to raise money from folks in the neighborhood or others in the city who have fond memories of feeding the ducks in the park and might want to put their names on a “lasting legacy” for the neighborhood. “My theory is to contact people who might want to leave a happy or lasting legacy on the city for decades to come,” Honeycutt said, adding she could see the benches becoming a landmark like Gaudi’s Parc Guell in Barcelona, Spain, which includes a long bench, inlaid with broken pottery, in the shape of a sea serpent, the curves of which form a number of enclaves creating a more social atmosphere.

In Colonial Manor Lake Park, Honeycutt said she envisions perhaps “five or six benches in the same configuration as” the benche s are laid out now or “just one big one in the middle.”

Honeycutt estimated the cost for the benches might be as high as $60,000.

“This is the starting point,” she said, “and by no means the finished product.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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