Plans for the Diane Whitten Memorial Garden took a step forward recently, with organizers receiving approval from the Belfast City Council to place a granite bench in an existing garden bed in Belfast City Park. The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission previously gave the okay for the group to add plantings to the bed, which currently is home to three rhododendrons.

Whitten was a registered nurse and pediatric nurse practitioner in the Women and Infants Health Care Unit and at Waldo County Home Health and Hospice, before becoming Belfast’s public health nurse. She also worked with her husband, Dr. Dana Whitten, local pediatrician, in his practice.

Whitten was the first female selectman in Northport, held a lobstering license, was an avid gardener and was a member of Northport Volunteer Fire Department. She passed away last June after a valiant struggle with cancer.

Ginnie Fanelli and Suei Tietje, RNs, who work in the WICHU, are heading up the Diane Whitten Memorial Garden Planning Committee. They say the memorial garden is “to honor the life and work of Diane Whitten… Diane was the perfect example of what it means to be a nurse. We have been given a gift by having her in our lives.”

The granite bench, which is 4-feet long by 18-inches wide and 18-inches tall, will be engraved “Diane K. Whitten Jan. 17, 1948 — June 2, 2011.” The garden bed is located under a cedar tree on the right just past the entrance to the park.

Now that they have final city approval, Fanelli and Tietj have started fundraising for the project. If you would like to donate for the memorial granite bench or toward the plantings, checks can be mailed to: Diane Whitten Memorial Garden, c/o WICHU, PO Box 287, Belfast, ME 04915.

If you would like to help with project, especially when it comes time to plant, call the WIHCU at 338-9348 and leave a message for Fanelli or Tietje.

A $69 deposit is due on the bench this week. The cost of the bench without the engraving is $365. Fanelli said she unsure how much will be needed for the engraving, plants and mulch.

Among the fundraisers currently planned are a Yankee Candle sale, a bottle drive, and the sale of Scentsy.