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My family planted a tree in memorial of my deceased father in a popular park in my hometown. He worked for the parks and recreation dept. and loved the outdoors. I just wanted to see why something like this could get denied.
Because memorial objects for people that are not historical figures or locally prominent (with the submitter making a good case for that) are not eligible.
Think of it this way...if the vast majority of people even in your town would not recognize the name, it is not for a significant figure. Being dead and having family willing to pay for a plaque alone does not make someone notable and the plaque would not be something people would make a trip to explore.
If your father was mentioned in your local paper (other than a basic obituary) or won a local reward you could try putting links to that in the supporting information. If there is nothing like that I would not expect it to get approved.