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Dedication of Public Art in Memory of Former Council Member Joe Herzenberg

Post Date:02/14/2018 9:46 AM

The public is invited to join the Town of Chapel Hill in dedicating a decorative bench the memory of Joe Herzenberg on the Bolin Creek Trail at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 10. Herzenberg was the first openly gay elected official in the south, a champion of civil rights and the environment, and a fixture on Franklin Street.

The concrete and bronze bench graces a new portion of the trail just west of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The Friends of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department funded the bench to honor Herzenberg’s many contributions to the community, which include a generous gift from his estate that helped create the greenway system.

Herzenberg was a history professor who served on the Chapel Hill Town Council from 1979-1981 and then again from 1987-1993. As Chair of the Town Greenways Commission and the Merritt’s Pasture Committee he continued to advocate for open space and environmental preservation after leaving the Council. Herzenberg’s name is one of nine civil rights advocates recognized at the Peace and Justice Plaza in Chapel Hill.

The artist team on the project is Michael Waller and Leah Foushee Waller, best known for the bronze bull sculpture in downtown Durham. Their design uses organic shapes and incorporates elements meant to evoke Herzenberg’s connection to the creek, his love of travel, and his advocacy for diversity and the environment.

The closest public parking is at Umstead Park (399 Umstead Dr.), which is an easy walk along the paved Bolin Creek Trail to the bench. Parks and Recreation staff will leave from the Umstead Park parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and answer questions about the Trail and project along the way.

For special access or parking needs contact Bill Webster at or 919-968-2819.

For project details, visit For information about the Town’s Community & Cultural Arts, visit For information about the Friends of Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation, visit


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