AUBURN — A Boy Scout’s project to improve drive access and install a pavilion, picnic tables and signage at Doc Coleman Landing at C.R. 35 and 36, Auburn, is almost complete.
Brock Seiler of Boy Scout Troop 169 in Auburn planned and developed the improvements at the canoe launch as his Eagle Scout service project.
Once planning was completed, work on the project began in January and is anticipated to wrap up today when Hoosier Re-Leaf will guide Scouts from Troop 169 in digging and planting four trees around the new pavilion.
Seiler, 17, attends Eastside High School and is the son of Scott and Beth Seiler. In his project proposal, Seiler said the enhancements at Doc Coleman Landing will offer a break and rest spot for those using the canoe trails as well as others. He enlisted the help of fellow scouts, family and friends to complete the project.
Elements of the project included removing a culvert and adding crushed stone to improve the driveway. An open pavilion canopy was installed, which included pouring a concrete slab, erecting a steel canopy structure and installing a steel roof. Two concrete picnic tables were installed. A universal canoe sign was added near the entry, a landing rules sign was posted and the area was reseeded.
“It will have a positive impact on the community by providing a nice picnic area for families, as well as making the canoe launch more user-friendly,” Seiler said in his project report. “This helps with DeKalb County’s vision of more public use for the Cedar Creek Corridor.”
While completing the planning of his project, contacts led to more contacts, Seiler said.
Seiler said many businesses and companies were willing to donate labor and materials. The DeKalb County Commissioners authorized using up to $2,000 for the picnic tables, and representatives of TFC Canopy helped Seiler solidify his sketches into something that could be fabricated, he said.
Seiler said many volunteers and supporters assisted with his project.
Reflecting on challenges, Seiler said, “The enormity of the project was very overwhelming sometimes, and also erecting the heavy steel canopy structure and picnic table and bench slabs.“
Seiler said it took heavy construction equipment to lift parts so the canopy and picnic tables could be assembled.
“Patience was a very challenging aspect during this project as the picnic tables came in a couple months late,” Seiler said.
“Once concrete sets, it is really hard to manipulate it. Putting the bolts in steel was difficult, because many of the holes were not aligned. Placing the anchor bolts for the canopy and tabletops was exceedingly challenging because of hidden rebar in the concrete.”
Seiler noted that some changes were made to his original proposal. The size of the slab was reduced slightly, as well as the overall size of the canopy. Originally, Seiler had proposed installing wooden or PVC-coated steel picnic tables, but the commissioners requested concrete tables.
When the concrete picnic table slabs arrived, they were wider than anticipated, so the layout of the tables’ support columns had to change drastically, Seiler noted.
Seiler said he learned it takes communication and follow-up skills to ensure the project ran smoothly.
“It took me beyond my comfort zone to call, talk with experts, meet with boards,” Seiler said in his project report. “This took lots of organization of all the parts and parties to make it come together.”
A total of 367 hours of work was invested in the project by Seiler, Scouts, Scouting volunteers and leaders and other youth and adults. Seiler received a $1,000 grant from DeKalb VOICE to help fund the project, as well as donations of material and equipment from his family, Seiler Excavating, The Home Depot, Hoham Feed and Seed, IMI, TFC Canopy and Precast Specialties. Donors and supporters will be recognized on a sign attached to the project.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the project’s completion will take place Nov. 22 at 4:30 p.m. when Seiler will be joined by the commissioners, the DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District, contractors, vendors, Scouts and supporters. Refreshments will be provided.