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Anonymous donor sponsors memorial tree in Weeks Field Community Park

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Posted: Friday, September 9, 2011 10:24 pm | Updated: 1:26 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Just off Cowles Street on the northwest edge of the Noel Wien Library parking lot is a triptych of birch trees, their leafy crowns tinged with autumnal gold.

The spot is serene and quiet, filled with the natural beauty of trees, shrubs and flowers that thrive throughout the Weeks Field Community Park that surrounds the public library. This weekend the spot is especially poignant.

Nearby the birch trees is an inscribed plaque, elevated on a short 4-inch-by-4-inch wooden post, reads: “Hoping for Universal Peace, Remembering 11 September 2001.”

The 9/11 memorial birch trees were planted and the plaque erected about two or three years after Sept. 11, said Joan Robson, co-chairman of the park association. “It was an anonymous donation.”

A nearby bench makes for a convenient spot for anyone wishing to quietly sit, reflect and remember the date, on its 10th anniversary, and contemplate the dream of universal peace.

The living trees memorial is located close to the Cowles Street sidewalk and is one of many memorials that dot the 13-acre park.

The Weeks Field Community Park, adopted by the Fairbanks Garden Club in 1989, was the first adopted park in the Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation Adopt-A-Park program, explained Robson, and was the first adopted park in the state as well.

Ever since, the garden club volunteers have been doing all dedications, installing the plaques and much of the maintenance and plantings.

Since its adoption 22 years ago, there are 189 memorial markers, honoring family and friends, which range from trees, shrubs, benches and planting areas, which have been dedicated in place and are now filling up the park.

“We plan on stopping new plaques when we reach 200,” Robson said. She estimates that will happen within a year.

“We don’t want it (park) to look like a cemetery, and the plaques get in the way of the mowing machines.”

Contact staff writer Mary Beth Smetzer at 459-7546.

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