Carpenters Build ADA Friendly Build Playground

by Sam Garduno

On September 23 and 24th, Union carpenters from northwest Indiana came together when a unique opportunity arose. James Emslander of ICE Scaffold was contacted by the Hunky Hollow Athletic Club to set up an install of ADA friendly playground for children with cerebral palsy.

The Center for Possibilities is a non-profit 501(c) state licensed child care center and specializes in children and adults with physical and developmental disorders. The center offers classes for toddlers, preschoolers, and adults, personal care, lunch, etc.

There was only one problem. The children did not have a suitable facility to play. What did these children need? A playground. It was a simple idea, but not exactly an easy task. They would need help. It was at this point that Hunky Hollow Athletic Club, who donated the money for the playground equipment, started vetting for an installer, and who better to do the job than a group of people that build for a living. We are talking about carpenters, professionally trained union carpenters.

After Emslander and ICE Scaffold agreed to help, they contacted IKORCC Business Representative Sam Garduno, who agreed that this sounded like a great project. The reps in the northwest Indiana office in Merrillville relish at these opportunities, especially when it is for such a great cause. Garduno immediately contacted the IKORCC JATF coordinator Dan Jones, and with Emslander set up all the logistics and came up with a day that instructor Chris Charters and a class of 3rd year apprentices could strap their tools on and help these children out.

When the project day arrived, the apprentices, along with workers from ICE Scaffold and some members from carpenters Hammond’s Local 599 were excited. After a couple of dizzying hours shagging out unfamiliar playground parts, and eager children looking on, the playground began to come together.

After two days of blood, sweat, and maybe or maybe not tears, the project was completed. Alex Morrow, 3rd year apprentice from Merrillville’s Local 1005 was enthusiastic about helping out. “Getting out of the classroom is great, but to build a playground for kids with disabilities so they can have some fun and exercise puts this at a whole different level of gratification.”

As the carpenters wrapped up, the staff and trained volunteers expressed their gratitude and excitement for the kids. It was a project that was very rewarding, especially after seeing the smiling faces of the children using it.