To the editor:
This is an explanation of why two benches in front of the Maytag Bowl are now stained brown. It happened due to an apparent misunderstanding or error, and was not done by an act of vandalism. My intent was to volunteer to waterproof park benches. Instead, two benches received stain treatment.
It should be explained that the Maytag Bowl is considered an ampitheater and the benches are included. The Historical Resource Development Program grant application filed for a tax rebate states the Maytag Bowl consists of a band shell, stage and bench seating. It is interesting that original blueprints show that the incline behind the benches was carefully designed, apparently to enhance the good acoustics, which get praised by the military bands that have played there.
Therefore, the benches, which resemble the original benches, are to be retained and maintained. The company that sold the benches stated that applying a water repellant treatment annually is recommended. The city’s “Concept Repair Plan” passed on April 12, 2012, included Item 15, which stated, “Leave the existing seating and repair. Repair the seating with dimensional wood to imitate existing benches.”
I volunteered to apply the recommended water repellant on benches. Unfortunately, the Parks Department issued me a gallon of brownish wood stain. After applying it on a second bench, I was concerned, because it didn’t lighten up. Laundry bleach didn’t lighten it up. A paint store said it was not a water repellant. Another store said it could help repel water if put another coat of it on while the first coat was still damp. I emailed the Des Moines Historical Society and they stated they would recommend true water repellant be used to preserve as stain was not advised or suitable as a water repellant.
I obviously should have researched water repellant characteristics sooner. I have offered to buy new boards for the two benches. I am willing to volunteer to brush true, approved, water repellant on the Maytag Bowl benches if it can be done before it gets too chilly. Any retired teachers want to help?
Do check out the Bowl, it looks great.