Saturday, July 11, 2020

Don't Follow the Light

This past week I've sweated in places I wasn't aware could sweat and my feet still feel like I'm walking over a bed of coals. Three blisters, some oddly placed bruises, and some bad tan lines are the physical results left on my body from four days spent working from 7 am to 8 pm on a park build in Elmira. My heart however is full and I'm oddly satisfied.  

The playground was likely built in the 1950s and it showed. I watched the demo and didn't even feel a small twinge as old metal was ripped out of the ground and carted away on a dump truck. Later when a security guard at the building adjacent to the park mentioned a kid in his building was devastated that we were taking the playground away, I felt horrible. The news that a new kick ass park was coming along was shared, but still...I wondered how many little people would look out their windows and wonder why the park was going away. The City of Elmira has a lot of parks, but only some of them were reopened due to the pandemic and this one was still closed. 

By Monday, the holes for the equipment was in process. It was slow going as you had to carefully position the drill over top of the surveyed flag. The City guys had a process but with only one machine there wasn't a lot to do that could speed up things. They were still drilling holes by the time the playground guys showed up the following morning. 

There was a small crew the first day. Turns out that despite the best surveying, a lot of the holes had to be redug by hand. Since there was a foundation and cobblestone street under one section, this process took longer than anticipated. 

Concrete was supposed to go in on Thursday am. In actuality, it got poured Friday am. Two skid steers with huge buckets and a parade of wheelbarrows started filling in the holes. It was quite a relief as the volunteer numbers were smaller due to Covid and the extreme heat. When the driver left, he handed the invoice over. The concrete was donated!

Food and money to purchase food came from various places. Home Depot and Lowe’s gave supplies. A little old lady showed up with boxes of ice cream sandwiches and said she had worked at the the school across the street for twenty years looking at the old playground. She had tears in her eyes.

I heard that normally a playground this nice goes into an upscale neighborhood. Upscale isn’t the right term for this neighborhood. Under development might be a better term as after the new playground, a bandstand is planned as well as big changes to other not for profits in area. Exciting times ahead!

I’m off for a couple of days and will miss the last of the build. I’m a little sad as I helped install the header for the big ass slide but won’t be around for the other pieces. It’s not a small slide and there was a bit of a pucker factor! I do intend to give it a try though after it’s completed. I will be missing spreading three tractor trailer loads of wood chips though so maybe I’m not missing much!