Memorials and Donations
Create a lasting tribute while giving back to your community.
Bloomington is home to 97 parks and thousands of acres of green space. Now you can help improve a park while also memorializing a loved one or honoring a milestone occasion.
Dedicate a park bench, bicycle rack or tree as a memorial or meaningful acknowledgement of a birthday, anniversary, new baby, graduation or other life event.
Your gift will become a valuable enhancement to be enjoyed by park guests for many years to come!
Learn more about donating a memorial bench or other park improvement.
The Park Improvements program allows you to create a lasting tribute in one of your community’s beautiful parks.
Donated improvements may include park benches, bicycle racks and trees, and must be compatible with existing park design, management, and operation plans. Improvements should also fulfill an identified need at a park or facility. Improvements other than trees may have a recognition plaque indicating “donated by”, “in honor of” or “in memory of”. No other content, symbols, language, mementos, photographs, or memorial items may be displayed.
Cash donations may also be accepted and will be applied to specific improvements in consultation with donor(s).
Donation and Memorial Suggestions
Below are donation examples. The cost includes installation, commemorative plaque (except trees), and an endowment guaranteeing 10 years of ongoing maintenance. Contact the Parks & Recreation Department for current park development donation possibilities.
- Park Bench: $3,500
- Bike Rack: $3,000
- Tree: $1,000
- Other: $1,000*
*minimum value or cash donation to be used for park improvements as agreed upon by City and donor(s).
Parks and Recreation staff have identified locations at Tretbaugh Park, Smith Park and Bryant Park. If your preferred location is in another park, the processing time for your bench may take longer. Staff will provide specific bench options that are compatible with the park design.
Decisions on placement and installation of improvements will be at the sole discretion of the City. Once installed, all improvements become property of the City.
For help finding a location, use our Park Finder.
Ready to donate?
Complete this Application Form and submit it to the Parks and Recreation Department by postal mail, fax, email, or in person.
City of Bloomington
Parks and Recreation Department
1800 West Old Shakopee Road
Bloomington, MN 55431
Phone | 952-563-8877
Fax | 952-563-8715
Application and Evaluation
All donated improvements will be accepted and acknowledged by the City Council during a regular City Council meeting. An acknowledgment/thank you letter will be sent to donor(s) upon acceptance of the donated improvement. To donate an improvement, please complete the Donation & Memorial Application Form on the reverse side of this flyer. All appropriate fees must be paid prior to installation.
Parks and Recreation staff will review the application within ten business days and will evaluate it based on:
- Conformance to park or park facility’s current or future design, operational, or maintenance plans.
- Fulfillment of an identified need at the park or facility where the improvement is proposed.
- How much the improvement integrates with the park or facility’s existing natural and built environment.
- How much the improvement enhances the experience of average park users in the proposed location.
City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Memorials and Donations Policy
On August 6, 2007 the City Council approved the City Facilities Naming Policy and its attachment, the City of Bloomington Park Memorial Guidelines. This City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Memorials and Donations Policy (“Policy”) replaces the City of Bloomington Park Memorial Guidelines attachment.
For many years, the City of Bloomington (“City”) has allowed private individuals and organizations to dedicate improvements in City facilities and parks. The vast majority of these installations have been park benches and trees. Occasionally, more elaborate improvements were installed, leading to confusion about ownership and continued maintenance responsibilities.
The City operates and manages its parks and park facilities for the benefit of all City residents. To that end, the City has spent substantial time and effort into developing the Park System Master Plan, ongoing Capital Improvement Program, and other park design, maintenance, and operational policies. The City wishes to encourage memorials and donations that are compatible with these long-term policies, that integrate into the existing park environment, and that mitigate ongoing maintenance costs to the City.
This Policy furthers the City’s mission to “cultivate an enduring and remarkable community where people want to be” by furthering its strategic objective of connecting residents to one of the City’s greatest assets, its parks system.
This Policy’s purpose is to establish guidelines and procedures for the acceptance and installation of memorials and donated improvements, as well as cash donations used to fulfill an identified need, in the City’s parks and park facilities.
Memorials or improvements installed in parks or parks facilities without City approval, as outlined in this Policy, are subject to immediate removal by the City.
This policy balances the desire of community residents and organizations to memorialize persons, groups, or events or donate cash or physical improvements in City public spaces with the City’s need to provide long-term stewardship and responsible fiscal management of its parks and park facilities for all current and future City residents.
This Policy applies to all City of Bloomington parks and park facilities, with the exception of City parks and park facilities owned or managed by another entity, such as Three Rivers Park District or the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. In parks or park facilities owned or managed by another entity, the entity’s policies will govern use of the park or park facility.
IV. MEMORIALS AND DONATIONS
This policy authorizes the following:
- Memorial Spaces
- Donated Improvements
Memorials often have two components:
- A physical improvement, such as a bench, tree, bicycle rack, drinking fountain, or picnic table (the “improvement”).
- A plaque, sign, or similar message that recognizes an individual or group (the “recognition component”).
1. Memorial Spaces
The City Council may designate a City park or park facility, or a defined section of a City park or park facility, as a “memorial space.” A memorial space will recognize a prominent or historic person, a significant event, or a notable group of people, such as a memorial for veterans. If any memorial space has a donated component, long-term maintenance and financial responsibilities will be determined by agreement between the City and donor. Requests for memorial spaces will be routed to Parks and Recreation staff for a recommendation to the City Parks, Arts, and Recreation Commission and City Council. The City retains final design approval authority for any donated component to a designated memorial space.
- A memorial space is not a cemetery; the remains of humans, pets, etc., are not permitted to be interred in a City park or park facility.
- A memorial space may include large structures, fountains, public art, statues, plazas, flag poles, audio/visual displays, markers, and gardens.
- While the City may choose to partner with individuals or groups to develop and maintain a memorial space, a memorial space on City property shall remain a City park or park facility.
Content, including the recognition component content, displayed in a designated memorial space is intended as government speech and as such, is subject to the following:
- Shall not directly or indirectly endorse or promote unlawful activity.
- Shall not directly or indirectly endorse or promote age-restricted products or activities such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, or other products or activities generally considered to be detrimental to the health, welfare or safety of children.
- Shall not directly or indirectly endorse or promote sexually explicit content.
- Shall not directly or indirectly endorse or promote political parties or candidates.
- Shall not directly or indirectly endorse or promote discrimination based upon race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, familial status, disability, public assistance status, sexual orientation, or age.
- Shall not contain content that demeans, disparages or insults individuals, groups or other entities.
- Shall not contain commercial messages that are obviously misleading, unduly alarming or which appear to propose fraudulent transactions.
2. Donated Improvements
Individuals or groups may donate improvements to be installed within City parks or park facilities, either as a regular donation or as a donation that serves as a memorial. Memorials not accompanied by a physical improvement will not be accepted. Improvements will be installed by City staff. Donated improvements must be compatible with existing park design, management, and operation plans and should fulfill an identified need at a park or park facility. Improvements must structurally and visually integrate with the park or park facility’s existing natural and built environment so as not to detract from a park user’s experience.
The protection of the natural environment is a high priority. The City reserves the right to limit donated improvements to promote resource management and sustainability of natural landscapes.
Final decision on the placement of improvement shall be made by the City. All donated improvements, once installed, become property of the City. The City does not accept any donated improvements in perpetuity.
Donated improvements are generally limited to park benches, bicycle racks, or trees. More significant donated improvements may be considered, in the City’s discretion and if consistent with this Policy. The City will also accept cash donations of $1,000 or more and work with the donor to select a desired improvement that is consistent with this Policy. In such cases, the City will make the final decision on the nature of the improvement.
City staff will work with potential donors to ensure that proposed improvements meet an identified need and are consistent with park design, management, and operation plans.
A donated improvement, with the exception of a donated tree, may have a recognition component. The recognition component is limited to a plaque, to be provided by the City, and attached to the improvement. The recognition component may contain an inscription limited to the following:
- “Donated By”
- “In Honor Of”
- “In Memory Of”
No other content or items, including but not limited to, depictions, symbols, language, mementos, photographs, or other memorial items may be displayed on the recognition component or as a part of the improvement.
Maintenance and Removal
The City will exercise normal care to protect and maintain donated improvements for a period of ten years following installation, unless otherwise agreed to in writing. Unless otherwise agreed to in writing, donated improvements may be removed or relocated if, in the City’s discretion, they conflict with other needed park or park facility improvements, have exceeded their useful service life, or are damaged beyond reasonable repair.
In the event the City determines a donated improvement is damaged beyond reasonable repair or will be removed or relocated for other reasons, the City will attempt to notify the donor, in writing, at the address listed on the Donations and Memorials Application Form to notify them of the damage or pending removal or relocation. If the City finds it to be in the best interests of the City park or park facility, the donor may be afforded the opportunity to repair or replace the improvement, at the donor’s expense.
Fees for the standard improvements of park benches, bicycle racks, and trees include a 10% charge for maintenance over the first ten years following installation. For other proposed improvements, the City and donor will determine an appropriate maintenance fee, which will generally be 10% of the value of the improvement.
Pre-Existing Donated Improvements and Memorials
Over the years, the City permitted individuals and groups to donate improvements or install memorials in City parks or park facilities. Donated improvements or memorials installed prior to the approval date of this Policy may temporarily remain in the City park or park facility where they are located, even if not in compliance with the Policy.
However, the City, in its sole discretion, may remove such pre-existing donated improvements or memorials if they have exceeded their useful life, are damaged or vandalized beyond repair, or conflict with operational or management plans of the park or park facility. Any pre-existing donated improvement or memorial that is refurbished, modified, or replaced must comply with the current City of Bloomington Memorials and Donations Policy in effect at that time.
Application and Approval
All donated improvements will be accepted and acknowledged by the City Council during a regular City Council meeting. An acknowledgment/thank you letter will be sent to the donors upon acceptance of the donated improvement.
To apply to donate an improvement, a potential donor must submit a Donation & Memorial Application Form to the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. All appropriate fees must be paid prior to installation. Parks and Recreation staff will review the Application within ten business days.
Applications for proposed donated improvements will be evaluated as follows:
- Conformance to park or park facility’s current or future design, operational, or maintenance plans.
- Fulfillment of an identified need at the park or park facility where the improvement is proposed.
- The extent to which the proposed improvements does/does not integrate with the park or park facility’s existing natural and built environment.
- The extent to which the improvement enhances or detracts from the experience of the average park user of the park or park facility where it is proposed.
Parks and Recreation staff will make the final decision as to the location of accepted improvements. The decision of Parks and Recreation staff to deny a proposed improvement is final.
V. AMENDMENTS AND MODIFICATIONS
This Policy may be amended or modified at any time by the City’s Director of Parks and Recreation, upon approval by the City Parks, Arts, and Recreation Commission. This Policy will be reviewed by the City Council at least once every five (5) years.
Donation and Memorial Suggestions
Below is a depiction of possible donations. Please contact Bloomington Parks and Recreation for current park development donation possibilities.
- Park Bench: $3,500 with maintenance guaranteed for 10 years.
- Bike Rack: $3,000 with maintenance guaranteed for 10 years.
- Tree: $1,000 with maintenance guaranteed for 10 years.
- Other: $1,000 minimum value or cash donation, maintenance and financial obligations as agreed upon between City and donor.