To see the last project he worked on to improve downtown York come to fruition was a dying man's last wish.
And Friday, days before he passed away, Bill Swartz Jr. got to see the first of nine sidewalk benches he, his brother Donald "Donnie" Swartz and Mike Darrah donated to the city, newly installed in front of the Pullman Apartments on North George Street.
Donnie Swartz, whose office was next door to Darrah's recycling business, saw the benches in his yard in October.
In typical Swartz fashion, the brothers wasted no time in approaching Darrah with a plan and pushed it very quickly.
"Bill approached me about a deal to purchase them for downtown, and I said, 'Well, if you guys are footing the bill to fix, then I'll donate
Out of the 200 benches sent to him for scrap, Darrah salvaged nine that could be refurbished, and the Swartz brothers almost immediately envisioned them improving York's streetscape, said Downtown Inc executive director Sonia Huntsinger.
"They were like little kids when they told me about it," Huntsinger said. "I remember the lunch with the two of them at Bistro 19 that day, 'Hey - we've got some benches, wink, wink.'"
When city public works director James Gross learned that Bill Swartz, 66, was receiving hospice care at home last week, the city moved to install the first bench and photograph it for Swartz, Huntsinger said.
In memory: Bill Swartz III, Swartz's son, said before his father passed away on Monday he wanted the donation of the benches to be credited to Darrah and his wife, Debbie, and installed in memory of his brother, Donnie, "who was dedicated to the city throughout his life." Donnie Swartz, 64, died in March.
Being a driving force in the background but giving credit to others as long as the right things were being done is what Bill Swartz did, his friends say.
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