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Eagle Scout park project

Eagle Scout tackles park project

McLaughlin and friends add a covered bench at Sheridan Meadows

By Carden Romero 

NSP Intern


A pack of Boy Scouts joined together near Eldridges's pickle ball courts to construct a community bench with the help of local businesses. White Roofing workers gave the Scouts lessons for putting shingles on the bench's roof while Scouts on the ground built the seats. Credit 14-year-old Aidan McLaughlin for leading this Eagle Scout project. Aidan wanted to build the bench to allow people playing pickle ball and bike riding to rest. "I figured it would be good for anyone to rest and take a break," Aidan said. After deciding to build the bench, Aidan searched for similar projects online to help plan the construction of his own bench. Aidan and his fellow Scouts calculated the amount of lumber, concrete, and other materials needed. He presented his project to the city of Eldridge over Zoom and the council and staff backed the project. Aidan met with the city to choose the location of the bench, and the park board approved Aidan's project and its location.

Then Aidan sought businesses to help fund the project. Amber McLaughlin, Aidan's mother, searched for businesses that would be willing to donate money or supplies to the project, and Aidan wrote letters. The McLaughlins recruited Siefers, Builders FirstSource, White Roofing, Kelly Designs in Concrete, Hahn Ready Mix, and Border MAgic. The city of Eldridge also sponsored the project. Most of the businesses donated materials, and Siefers donated money to cover extra project costs. A primary concern for the project's funding was lumber. Lumber prices were high while Aidan was funding the project, accounting for over half of the project's cost. Aidan's father measured the proper dimensions of the wood, and Builders FirstChoice donated the lumber for Aidan's project. Once Aidan and his family found the materials, the Scouts constructed the bench. 

First, the Scouts laid the concrete. Aidan's grandparents helped pour the concrete, and stored supplies during the build. The Scouts set the foundational woodwork once the concrete was finished and built a roof on the foundation. White Roofing employees taught the Boy Scouts how to properly place shingles individually, and the Scouts constructed the roof by themselves. The seating and the table area were installed last. "I'm excited that it's done," Aidan said, Although the actual build only took one day, the entire project took Aidan and his family 14 months to complete. "I'm very proud of him and excited for his future endeavors," Amber McLaughlin said. With the bench complete, people across Eldridge can conveniently rest between pickle ball games and cycling. "I've heard a lot of people say they like the bench after their pickle ball games or just going by," Aidan said. Proud of a job well done, the McLaughlins cherish the impact they've been able to make on their community. "We want to thank everyone who helped along the way; the scouts, the leaders, and our sponsors," Amber McLaughlin said. "The bench will be something to benefit the community for years to come."

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